In this blog post, we explore the five Ps that promote children's health. The five Ps are a collection of tips that parents can use to keep their kids healthy and thriving throughout the school year.
Whether you're a seasoned pro at back-to-school prep or a first-time parent, these tips are sure to come in handy as you gear up for the school year ahead.
1. Practice good hygiene
With so many children in such close proximity, it’s no surprise that schools are a place where germs spread. In order to keep your child healthy, it is important to encourage good hygiene. This includes washing their hands regularly, covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding sharing food or drinks.
However, it’s important that your child does not overuse hand sanitiser when cleaning their hands. Although it’s true that it kills germs and bad bacteria, it also kills the good bacteria that our bodies need to function properly, such as those on our skin and in our gut.
“In an over-sanitised world, we have to be careful not to avoid the important exchange of microbes. We often use antibiotics when we don't need them, which affects the diversity of our microbiota,” says Gianfranco Grompone, Chief Scientific Officer at BioGaia.
2. Prioritise sleep
Among the most important aspects of a child's health is the amount of sleep they get. Therefore, it’s important to establish a consistent sleep routine for your child to ensure that he or she gets enough sleep every night.
As a general rule of thumb, young children should sleep somewhere between 10-12 hours per night, while older children should sleep around 9 hours each night.
One study shows that sleep loss can quickly alter the composition of the gut microbiota, that is the collection of microorganisms that reside in our digestive tract. This complex ecosystem includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes that play important roles in our overall health.
Grompone shares, “Although we don't yet know what the exact functions are, there is a link between sleep and our microbiota composition.”
3. Boost the immune system
Our gut microbiota plays a crucial role in our overall health, including our immune system. In fact, the gut is home to 80 per cent of our immune system, which means that maintaining a variety of good bacteria is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Make sure that your child consumes a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You may also consider introducing probiotic supplements or incorporating fermented foods into your child's diet.
4. Physical exercise and plenty of it
The benefits of regular exercise go beyond physical health. For children and adults alike, exercise can also have a positive effect on our overall well-being.
Exercise can be achieved in a variety of ways, whether it is through organised sports, active playtime, or family outings. Aside from keeping children healthy and fit, exercise can also improve their mood and concentration.
5. Plan healthy meals and snacks
“What we eat has a direct impact on the gut microbiota because our microbiota - these microbes - live with us, they find food in our stomach, and they help us to digest our food,” Grompone shares.
When rushing to get ready in the morning, it's easy to fall into the trap of packing lunches that are convenient but not necessarily healthy for your child.
Prepare nutritious lunches and snacks the night before that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Choose snacks made of whole grains, and avoid processed, sugary and high-fat snacks, which can make your child feel sluggish and unfocused.
Support your child’s immune system with BioGaia Pharax Kids probiotic drops with vitamin D for the throat.*
*Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system in children