Pencils, glue, and ruler? Check, check, check.
Gathering back to school supplies is a must on many of our to-do lists and can be filled with hopes and dreams for our young ones to grow and flourish in the new school year ahead of them.
But a successful school year doesn’t necessarily start and stop with a supply list. In addition to basic school needs, essentials for both physical and mental health can support children and adolescents as they develop and learn.
Here are six on our own list:
1. Quality multi-vitamins.
Kids need a variety of minerals and vitamins daily and as these nutrients decline in today’s food supply, it can be important to supplement a healthy diet with a good multi-vitamin. Nordic Naturals Nordic Berries is a go-to for some of our staff.
2. A small soup/food thermos and bento/compartment lunchbox.
As mentioned above, modern day processed foods can be stripped of proper nutrition so sending kids with a healthy, home-cooked lunch when possible can support their learning. We have found one-serving, hot-food, stainless steel thermoses to be helpful for this as well as compartmentalized bento-style lunchboxes.
Soups, stews, stir-fry dishes, whole-wheat pastas, and even leftovers can provide kids a warm and filling meal in a thermos to fuel the rest of their day and a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins can beautifully fill a bento box.
A healthy immune system is supported by a healthy gut and adding a quality probiotic can help both!
In addition to foods that carry these helpers naturally such as yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi, and sourdough bread, Dr. Graves recommends 2-10 billion CFU daily, with his go-to’s being:
Pharmax HLC Neonate for ages 0-2
Klaire Labs TherBiotic Plus for ages 2 and above (for this powder, he recommends an eighth of a teaspoon to start with and then increasing to 1/4 teaspoon)
4. Omega 3 fatty acids.
Helping to decrease inflammation (from stress, sugary and processed foods, low movement, little sleep, etc.) as well as support brain development, omega 3 fatty acids from cold-water fish, fortified eggs, nuts and seeds, and supplements can be beneficial for learning.
Dr. Graves suggests 100-150mg of DHA daily such as with Nordic Natural ProDHA strawberry.
They are gel caps that kids can chew and swallow or just chew and spit out the cap.
5. Essential oils.
Going back to school can be stressful – for both kids and parents! To calm the nervous system, especially at night if sleep is difficult, essential oils gently rubbed on the neck and shoulders or placed in a warm bath can ease tension.
Try lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or citrus mixed with a non-scented lotion or a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba (never place essential oils directly on the skin without such a barrier to dilute them).
6. Dedicated talk time.
School, sports, and other activities can leave little downtime for thinking and talking about feelings and emotions.
For younger kids, it can be helpful to find quiet time to ask questions such as:
- What was the best part of your day?
- What was the hardest?
- What is something you did that you are proud of?
- Did you feel happiness today?
- Did you feel sadness?
- What are you excited about at school?
- Are there things that you aren’t excited about?
Those that are older can benefit from one-on-one time with a parent during a coffee shop date, hike or walk, and a check-in session with a family therapist or counselor.
Back to school can be filled with excitement, nerves, and even sickness as kids get adjusted to the new year. For additional naturopathic support for kids (and yourself!), please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule an appointment.
The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area. For those outside of these areas, virtual appointments are available.