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A poster showing three happy toddlers coming back from Clever Daycare

Boost a Toddler’s Immune System for Daycare: Reasons & Tips

Arya FrouzaanFar

Arya FrouzaanFar

As a parent, sending your little one off to daycare can be nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to their health and happiness.

Daycares can be a colourful, lovely second home for children! Still, their new environment can introduce stress or germs into a kid’s life, so illnesses are (rightfully) a common concern for parents.

In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind your tot’s potential sickness while at daycare, ways to boost a toddler’s immune system, tips for preventing illness, and what to do if your child does become ill.

Ready? Let’s go!

Why Would a Child Get Sick at Daycare?

Most reputable daycares around the world adhere to strict health policies. For example, we don’t allow kids in with severe colds, pinkeye, other infectious diseases, etc. So, why would a child get sick at all?

Let’s take a look at some likely reasons.

Immature Immune System

A toddler’s immune system is still developing, making them more susceptible to illnesses. Their bodies are learning to fight off unfamiliar invaders, which can sometimes result in sickness. So, whether they go to daycare or not, new germs from anywhere can get them sick.

Close Contact with Other Kids

An excellent quality of a good daycare is that it helps socialize kids. How? By providing a safe space where they can interact closely with each other, share toys, play together, and explore the world.

All of the wonderful things in daycare are essential for a happy life, but they also increase the likelihood of germ transmission. C’est la vie! This is particularly an issue for children who have not been exposed to many germs before.

Suboptimal Environment at Daycare or Home

Let’s face it: toddlers put their hands and feet into their mouths all the time. So, any environment they spend a lot of time in should be clean and ventilated. Not that our own Clever Daycare is dirty! We’re spotless clean with great HVAC systems. (Check out our amenities.) This is just a list of reasons why an illness might occur.

Cleanliness at home is also crucial. Second-hand smoke, if present, will also stress a toddler’s immune system and make them more vulnerable to illnesses. More on common stressors later in this piece.

How to Boost a Toddler’s Immune System for Daycare

As a parent, you play a pivotal role in strengthening your child’s immune defences. So, what can you do?

Try these ways to support your toddler’s developing body:

Check Vaccinations & Diet

This is a given, but ensure your toddler is up-to-date with vaccinations. Vaccines are crucial in preventing serious diseases.

A diet lacking in essential nutrients can also weaken the immune system. Namely, deficiencies in vitamins D and C, zinc, and iron are the most critical. So, include foods rich in these nutrients in your toddler’s meals. There’s no need for supplements unless a pediatrician recommends it.

Put in a Sleep Routine for the Whole Family

Sleep is a cornerstone of physical and mental health for kids. We all need enough sleep with a consistent routine. So, identify how many hours of sleep your toddler needs (including naps) and make it a routine for them to get just that. Check with your daycare about their nap times and ensure consistency.

Also, bring in the whole family at night! Kids are more likely to listen to you if they see that you take your own advice seriously.

Identify Stressors

Pay attention to any aspects of daily life that cause unnecessary anxiety in your child, both at home and at daycare. Stress can weaken the immune system, making children more susceptible to illnesses.

Work with your daycare’s staff or caregivers to identify sources of undue pressure and create a nurturing environment that promotes your child’s well-being.

What to Do If Your Child Gets Sick

So, you boosted your toddler’s immune system and sent them off to daycare. What if they come home from daycare with a sniffle or a cough?

Here’s what to do.

Don’t Panic, it’s Healthy!

Remember that it’s natural and healthy for kids to get sick from time to time. Each illness helps their immune system grow stronger and better equipped to fight off future infections. Trust that your child’s body is learning and adapting.

There’s even a book out there written by two professors at the University of British Columbia titled “Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Our Children from an Oversanitized World.” As the title suggests, the book says that the modern world’s overly sanitized environments have a downside regarding kids’ immune systems. Here’s a short passage from the book:

In experiments done on macaque monkeys, it was found that monkeys with the most diverse microbiota responded the best to certain diarrheal vaccines. We presume a similar concept holds true for children, again arguing for letting our kids eat dirt, and whatever else they can safely put in their mouths. It seems that having a diverse microbiota is beneficial all-around and we should provide our children with opportunities to diversify their microbiota.

Check with a Pediatrician in Case of Continued Sickness

If your toddler is always or frequently ill at daycare, it’s best to consult with a pediatrician. They can help identify underlying issues, such as vitamin deficiencies, health conditions, or environmental factors you haven’t considered.

Your pediatrician may recommend medication and vitamin supplementation or suggest further investigation to determine underlying causes.

Conclusion

Starting daycare is a significant milestone for both toddlers and parents. As caregivers, we try everything possible to make daycares as clean and welcoming as possible, but illnesses remain a common concern.

As a parent, you can help your kid’s transition by understanding why illnesses occur and taking proactive steps to boost your toddler’s immune system. Remember, occasional sicknesses are a normal part of childhood development, and with your support and guidance, your toddler will grow stronger and more resilient over time.

Curious to see how clean we are? Go ahead and book a tour!

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