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7 Easy Remedies to Keep Your Kids Well

Photograph by Twenty20

For several years our family had a very specific way of dealing with winter colds: We hoped that we wouldn't get sick.

It didn't work.

Year after year, one of us got a horrendous cold then magnanimously shared it with the rest of the household. By March, my husband and I would have cashed in our sick days, either for ourselves or to care for our kids on missed school days.

Last year I decided to try some natural remedies in a preemptive strike against winter illness. It worked. We had some sniffles and sneezes here and there, but not the knock-out that used to fell our family for a week at a time.

So this year I'm starting even earlier with my expanded natural health plan to keep my kids well. Here it is. Give it a try for a healthier winter.

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1. Ginger Crush

For a delicious flu-fighting drink, power up your blender with some grated ginger, the juice of one lemon, honey to taste and two cups of ice water. Blend into an icy concoction (you can also use warm water or heat in the microwave.) Pour out a small glass for everyone in the family.

Ginger is not only great for digestion, but also high in gingerol, which happens to be a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. And lemon is full of Vitamin C that helps strengthen the immune system and eliminate waste from the body.

As a bonus, ginger and lemon are a detox duo = great for controlling weight.

2. Echinacea and O.J.

Echinacea is my go-to herb when any of us get sick, but now I use it proactively. If you or your child senses even a twinge of a cold is coming on, try a dropper full in your morning orange juice then use it throughout the day. The regular liquid form can be bitter for kids, so pick up Children's Echinacea that has a little sweetness to it.

Echinacea can activate chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation and reduce cold symptoms.

3. Afternoon Tea

Find a few quiet moments when you're home with your children and make everyone a cup of herbal tea. Serve it with a healthy snack. Slowing down during a busy day is always good for the immune system, especially for over-scheduled kids. If you ban phones at teatime, your kids (and you) will also learn the value of taking a break from technology, too.

4. Soup-er Sunday

We started doing this a few years ago, and the tradition has stuck. In the winter months, we make a huge pot of soup on Sunday then have enough for leftovers. Soup is the absolute easiest way to pack vegetables (as well as superfoods like garlic and greens) into a family meal. And if your kid really hates the kale, then she can have hers without it. (She doesn't have to know the broth is still full of vitamins and healthy goodness.)

5. Individual Toothpaste for All!

This is the time of year that everyone gets their own toothpaste tube with their initials written in Sharpie pen. Keep from spreading the germs.

6. Sweat it out

With the end of the fall sports seasons, your children may suddenly get more sedentary. But moving, sweating and playing outside is key to good health. Even when you just want to cozy up after a day of work and making dinner, it's a big health benefit to get up and move.

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7. Laugh

It's so true. Laughter is great medicine and similar to exercise in how it affects our body. When we laugh we stretch our facial muscles and breathe faster, sending even more oxygen to our tissues. So if you've been taking life a bit too seriously, find a funny movie to watch as a family and appreciate the win-win: entertainment that improves your health.

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