For Families In Panic Or Calm, Dealing With Kids Sick Or Well

Kid’s Immunity

Kid’s Diet, Exercise, Sleep & Relaxation

Kid’s immunity is a topic of great complexity, barely grasped by the professional medic!

The tough kid pose

Ready for anything

However, one thing is clear,  kid’s immunity is different & necessarily less developed than adults. The new research emerging on the microbial environment of the gut stresses importance of diet on immunity – particularly for the young. Early years are the developing years where an individual’s physiology  is laid down for life. The first three years, (four years if you count inside mother) to up to say seven, are significant.

Whilst some problems are genetic, a carer’s focus is on what CAN be done in the here and NOW to boost health.

Considerations are many from: exposure to secondhand smoke, to how many vegetables kids eat daily and whether they’re getting enough sleep. All these things can impact on health, positively or negatively.

Advice can be contradictory and over-complex. But some things are simple. With exercise the message is: get kids/ family moving throughout the day (avoid the chair !). You don’t have to sign up for a marathon, ‘pottering’ is fine.

Open wide Ted.

Open wide Ted.

Diet is well summed up by food writer Michael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

What this doesn’t cover is – is it’s damn hard to change ingrained habits. Eating habits are learned. It takes effort and time to wean yourself (never mind your kids) off junk food. And so much of the food in our shops is junk . For example, the ‘healthy’ but sugar laden yoghurt. The bread (frequently with added sugar and all fibre removed).

Some parents will have extra challenges with their kid’s picky eating or with difficulty and lack of compliance to routines.

When it comes to sleep, it can be hard to keep fixed routines. Parents often work late or erratic hours, and media, especially social media intrudes on our time. Even homework schedules can keep us up late. Yet sleep is when the body goes into ‘repair-mode’. So any small compromises and improvements are worth making.

If any of the above ideas interest you, and you’d like to see more here are some of my favourite resources.

Because there are so many challenges that present themselves, there are lots of issues to cover. I am working on my list and appreciate suggestions!


Kid’s Diet:

An entertaining film on the problems of sugar, targeted for kid and adult audiences –

That Sugar Film, Damon Gameau

Girl eating bowl of berries


Want to know how to get around extreme picky eating? Eating disorders? Or simply wanting to make small positive changes?

Bee Wilson:

Book – First Bite: How We Learn To Eat, Bee Wilson

Supernanny Healthy Eating –

Get Kids Drinking Water –

On the dangers of sugar (now added to most of our food), Professor Robert H Lustig –

Bed down with Ted

Bed down with Ted

Want to learn or be part of ongoing research?

The Human Food Project –


Kid’s Sleep:

National Sleep Foundation

NHS on kids sleep –

Dr Michael Mosley

Get better sleep –

For advice on sleep for kids with autism or ADHD –

Kid’s Stress, Kid’s Relaxation

Not all stress is bad, but the bad kind is a problem as it weakens the immune system. Some kids may relax listening to rock music rather than practicing mindfulness.

Green spaces encourage relaxation. So if you are lucky enough to have space outside your home or nearby, visit it when you can to throw a ball, collect leaves, stroll around or even garden. Discover all the best parks, squares and fields in your locale.

Activities kids enjoy tend to relax them. So if they are very stressed computer games may be the short-term answer! Easier alternatives include: free play, art, reading time etc.

Hugs help. Paying attention to one’s own mode, tone & body language is also important. Kids are like sponges.

If all else fails try this: flop, bed down, give them a warm bath, drink cocoa, wrap them in a blanket, dim the lights…


For neurotypical and neurodivergent kids –


Kid’s Exercise

James A  Levine MD

Book – Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, James A Levine MD


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