As the school year starts and flu season lingers, maintaining your children’s immune system is a top concern for parents. With COVID-19 still being a concern, vaccinations and good health practices are crucial. However, your kids also need specific vitamins and vitamins to bolster their immunity, protecting them from the common colds and sniffles. 

That’s why, in this blog post, the expert team at Children’s Medical Center of South Florida talks about immune support for kids and discusses the suitable approaches that may work as immunity boosters for kids. 

How To Boost Kid’s Immune Systems: Are Supplements Okay? 

Young Mother Giving Medicines Coughing Syrup From Spoon To Her Sick Little Son

Supplements can be beneficial in some instances, but focus on food over supplements. These supplements should be verified by third-party experts to ensure quality. Supplements might help if your child is picky when it comes to eating or struggles to obtain essential nutrients from their diet.

The Role of Vitamin D

Even though vitamin D can be obtained through sunlight, this can be challenging when applying sunscreen or during colder months. Kids’ typical diets don’t include foods rich in vitamin D. Foods like fatty fish (trout, salmon, tuna, and sardines) and mushrooms are excellent immunity boosters for kids.

Additionally, fortified foods like milk, yogurt, and non-dairy milk variants offer around 5% to 25% of Vitamin D recommended daily. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so pairing it with fatty foods enhances absorption.

Vitamin D In the Form of Supplements

Supplements may be required if your child has low levels of vitamin D. Consult a pediatrician for a blood test and determine the suitable supplement dosage. The recommended daily vitamin D intake varies by age:

  • Ten mcg (400 IU) from birth to one year old.
  • 15 mcg (600 IU) for children between one and 12 years. 
  • Five mcg (600 IU) for teens between the ages of 13 and 19.

Boosting Children’s Immune System with Zinc

Zinc is a critical mineral for the immune system, primarily found in foods rich in proteins, like poultry, oysters, and red meat. Nuts and beans are good sources, though animal-based foods are richer.

The daily recommended zinc intake for kids varies by age:

  • 2 mg from birth to six months old.
  • 3 mg for infants between seven and 12 months.
  • 3 mg for children between the ages of one and three years.
  • 5 mg for children between the ages of four and eight.
  • 8 mg for kids between nine and 13.
  • 9-11 mg for teens between the ages of 14 and 18.

Still, you should be aware of excessive zink intake, which can lead to adverse effects. The upper limits of recommended zinc intake on a daily level also vary by age. 

Probiotics to Boost Your Children’s Immune System

Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Many yogurts are rich in probiotics, making them a kid-friendly choice. Fermented foods like pickles, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, and apple cider vinegar are good sources.

Prebiotics to Boost Your Children’s Immune System

Prebiotics are types of plant fibers that help stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria within the body. Excellent sources include jicama root, green bananas, asparagus, yams, and plantains, 

Nuts and Seeds: Natural Immunity Boosters for Kids

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) or alpha-linolenic acid is a plant variant of omega-3 fatty acids that may also boost our children’s immune systems. 

Nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, provide ALA along with a variety of nutrients.

Fruits and Vegetables: Natural Immune Support for Children

Fruits and vegetables abound with antioxidants, which serve as protective shields for cells against harm and illness. Among these antioxidant-packed foods are berries, verdant vegetables like broccoli, and deep green leafy varieties such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens. These nutritious foods supply an array of vital vitamins and minerals, including A, C, E, B2, B6, K, potassium, folate, magnesium, and zinc.

Sleep: An Underrated Immunity Booster for Kids

A good night’s sleep is essential for children’s health. During sleep, the body rests, regenerates, and heals, supporting the immune system.

Increase Sleep Time

Adequate sleep is essential for a strong immune system. Ensure your child gets enough rest, particularly if they are in daycare, where napping can be challenging. The recommended sleep duration varies by age:

  • Infants: Up to 16 hours.
  • Toddlers: 11-14 hours.
  • Preschoolers: 10-13 hours.


Being active regularly can enhance the body’s resilience and its ability to fight infections. Encourage your kids to stay active.

Exercise as a Family

Exercise increases natural killer cells in both children and adults. Be a role model for your kids and engage in physical activities together.

Immune Support for Children: Reducing Stress

Minimizing stress is essential, especially in today’s uncertain times. Practice meditation, deep breathing, and open communication with your children to identify and address sources of stress and anxiety.

Consider Nursing Your Baby

Breast milk contains immune-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells, offering protection against various illnesses. Nursing can guard against ear infections, allergies, pneumonia, meningitis, and more. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive nursing for the first six months of life.

Guard Against Germ Spread

Ensure your children wash their hands frequently with soap and water. Teach them good hand hygiene before and after meals, after outdoor play, after handling pets, blowing their noses, using the bathroom, and returning from daycare or school. Carry disposable wipes for quick cleanups when you’re out. Consider letting your kids choose colorful hand towels and fun-shaped, scented soaps to encourage hand-washing.

Banish Secondhand Smoke

Quit smoking if anyone in your household smokes. Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that can harm children, who are more vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke. Vaping also poses risks, releasing potential carcinogens. If you can’t quit, smoke only outside the house and seek help to quit smoking.

Use Antibiotics Only When Necessary

Avoid urging healthcare providers to prescribe antibiotics for viral illnesses, as antibiotics are effective against bacteria, not viruses. Overusing antibiotics contributes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Discuss the necessity of antibiotics with your child’s healthcare provider.

Stay Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

Cute Asian Woman Holding Glass Of Fresh Milk Standing Drinking Milk In Kitchen At Home

Ensuring your child receives their recommended vaccinations is vital to maintain their immune system. Vaccinations prepare the immune system to combat various diseases.

Should You Boost Immunity With Supplements?

As we discussed above, supplements can be helpful, but it’s generally best to obtain essential nutrients from food rather than supplements. Speak to your child’s healthcare provider before considering supplements.

Boosting your children’s immune systems is critical as they return to school. Although there’s no magic solution, you can support their health through a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and stress management. Remember that a healthy child begins with a healthy parent. Here’s to a happy and healthy school year!

That said, if you want to learn more about immunity boosting or are looking for info on shots for kids, feel free to schedule an appointment with us.