First of all - daily walks
The easiest and most pleasant way to harden your child are daily walks in the fresh air. But where does their beneficial influence on the child's health come from?
- Oxygenation of the child's body - an undoubted advantage of walking is the possibility of leaving often stuffy or air-conditioned rooms and oxygenating the toddler. This results, among other things, in the increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes), which are mainly responsible for defending the child's body against pathogens.
- Moisture of the respiratory mucosa - fresh air, unlike what we breathe at home, especially in the winter months, it is much better moisturized, and thus does not dry the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. This plays a significant role in defending the body against respiratory infections, because dry mucous membranes are a convenient path for microorganisms attacking the toddler's body.
- Providing the child with a daily dose of sun - the sun's rays are necessary for the toddler's skin to be able to produce vitamin D, which is necessary for life, its proper level, in turn, determines the proper bone metabolism (vitamin D deficiency is responsible for the appearance of rickets in a child) and good function of the immune system.
- Contact of the toddler's immune system with pathogens - the human immune system, in order to efficiently defend the body against pathogens, must be constantly stimulated by them. Hence, raising a child in sterile home conditions results in a weaker immune system function, and thus more frequent and more severe infections. At this point it is also worth noting that many scientists believe that constantly protecting a child from contact with pathogens is one of the risk factors for future allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Secondly - not overheating the child
Toddlers are especially sensitive to overheating, which is considered to be one of the most important causes of recurrent infections in this age group. To a large extent, this is due to the fact that young children do not yet have fully developed thermoregulation mechanisms and their body he can't quite deal with sudden temperature changes (the toddler freezes quickly and thus easily catches infections). This problem is further aggravated when we dress our child too warm in relation to the prevailing temperatures.
An effective way of hardening a child is avoiding its overheating (it is best to dress a child for onions and periodically check if he is too hot - the cool neck indicates that the child is too cold and the red and warm is too hot), and even the use of so-called cryotherapy (stimulating the toddler's body using low temperatures - for this purpose ice cubes or cooler water are used). However, it should be remembered that in the case of the latter method, it must be consulted with the pediatrician taking care of the child and cannot be used when the child has a cold or has any other infection.
Third - diet
Another element that affects the toddler's immunity is his diet, and in the case of the youngest children mother breastfeeding (feminine food is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins that protect a child, or immune antibodies).
It should be remembered that all energy and micronutrient deficiencies in the diet will be the first to affect the toddler's resistance (group B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and omega acids are particularly important).
To sum up, the toddler's immune system is not yet fully functional and it is worth supporting it through daily walks, avoiding overheating and a proper diet. This will result in fewer infections, and thus better child development and less stress for parents.