Prepping Kids’ Physical Health for Going Back to School
The sounds of anxious chatter, the smell of new books, the feel of a cool desk – all things any kid can experience when school starts. And as they socialize with friends, eat together in groups, and touch what others have, a new school year can also be filled with runny noses, lingering coughs, and upset tummies as germs, bacteria, and viruses run abundant.
But no need to worry too much as long as kids’ immune systems are prepped and ready to defend against what may come their way.
Get children ready to go back to school with a strong immune system with these 8 tips:
- Support Sleep. The immune system repairs and restores at night so at least one week before school starts get back into a bedtime routine such as shutting off electronics, reading, and/or snuggling to relax the mind and body. School-age kids should get approximately 9-12 hours of sleep while teens should aim for 8-10.
- Encourage Hydration. Keep a water bottle on hand at all times and remind kids to hydrate consistently. This can help keep toxins and bugs moving through the body for elimination as well as enhance proper cell functioning.
- Offer Up a Healthy Diet. Summer can be filled with fun sugary and processed foods, but unfortunately, they can weaken the immune system. Before school begins, slowly increase fruits, vegetables, lean meats and/or fish, and whole grains in order to boost immunity.
- Opt for Supplement Support. A good multi-vitamin, vitamin D, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids are all supplements that can strengthen the immune system. Check out Keeping Kids Healthy During Cold and Flu Season for average dosage recommendations.
- Continue Good Hygiene. Washing hands when entering the house and before each meal, sneezing and coughing into an arm, and not sharing things like water bottles and half eaten sandwiches with others at school are all hygiene practices that should continue.
- Keep Sick Kids Home. If we’ve learned anything from the past year and a half, it’s to not spread sick germs if we can. Although it may be looked highly upon in our culture to never miss a day of school or work, it is all of our personal responsibilities to stay home when we are sick – especially kids at school for the sake of the community.
- Get Digestion Moving Properly. After a summer of some delicious, yet unhealthy foods, kids’ digestive tracks can be distressed. Include fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sourdough bread, and miso soup in a healthy diet, steer away from sugar and processed food, and add a probiotic supplement to strengthen the microbiome.
- Encourage Outdoor Play. Creative play in nature can be supportive for both the mind and body. Between vitamin D the body makes from sun exposure, scented compounds in plants that can strengthen the immune system (such as pine and lavender), and enjoyable movement that keeps kids active, getting dirty and discovering the world can be good for them!
- Be Mindful of Mental Health. Anxiety, worry, and fear about starting school can stress a little one’s immune system. Make sure to talk with kids about how they are feeling, what they may be nervous about, and how they can manage their stress.
- Stick to a Schedule. Kids can feel safe with routine – even if they say they don’t like it – so creating a general daily layout may be one less things for kids to worry about. It may take a little bit to get in the groove so remember to have patience!
A new school year can be an exciting yet anxious time of year. Get kids ready before the first bell rings so they are set up for a healthy and happy year as much as possible!
Does your child get sick frequently? Are you concerned about food sensitivities? Have they experienced an injury over the summer and it’s not feeling better yet?
Whether low immunity, food allergies or sensitivities, upset tummies, pain, sleep issues, or even behavioral concerns, Dr. Graves is here to help your family. Please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with him to discuss your children’s needs and learn how naturopathic medicine may be able to help.
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.