School has started again and with that comes a sigh of relief and a sigh of sadness that summer is over. Unfortunately, it always seems that a few weeks into the school year some kind of cold or bug starts making it’s way around the community. So, I’m sharing all of the preventative measures that I try and remember in order to keep my kids as healthy as possible – now and throughout the year.
I think the most simple and yet seemingly the hardest, is SLEEP. To maintain a healthy immune system, good sleep is key. Especially the first few weeks of school when all kids are getting used to going to school all day again. I think they are under more stress than we realize. Each year, they have a new teacher and a new classroom of students and therefore a completely different energy and environment that they must adjust too. That’s a really big deal and something to remember when they have a random out of body meltdown out of no where! Also, they may have after school activities including sports or playing with friends, and of course….HOMEWORK!!! Fitting everything in and getting them to sleep can feel nearly impossible! I think that getting them to bed at an appropriate bed time or even earlier than normal the first few weeks, is essential in keeping our kids healthy.
Next, is a list of vitamins and supplements that I would recommend at any time of year, but especially at the start of the school year when stress can overcome the immune system.
1. A Whole Food Based Multi Vitamin – Why a whole food based vitamin? Because each vitamin is coming from a real food source, rather than from a synthetically derived chemical based source. Here are two good options to consider.
Mega Food Kid’s One Daily or The Honest Company Kid’s MultiVitamin
2. Probiotics – A good probiotic is essential for keeping a healthy digestive system and therefore a healthy immune system. This is the best one I’ve found…Klaire Labs Ther-biotic Children’s Chewables. My kids think they taste like cotton candy, and it’s best to keep them refrigerated.
3. Fish oils – Fish oils will benefit your child’s brain development as well as their behavior. It reduces inflammation, it benefits hair, skin, nails, and can help keep them regular. I use twice the recommended dosage of this product giving a total of 370 mg of DHA daily.
5. Natural Calm – Another aspect of staying healthy is maintaining healthy bowel movements and sometimes kids get backed up because of stress, dehydration, or an unhealthy diet. Everyone should have at least one bowel movement each day. I love to use Natural Calm with my kids when they get constipated. It is only a Magnesium supplement, it tastes pretty good and it works really fast, within 24 hours. A majority of pediatricians will recommend Miralax to their patients. Miralax, like most laxatives, doesn’t help the body heal or fix itself. It uses a chemical ingredient to help you poop, it can be habit forming (since the chemical is doing all the work, the body can forget, and they you are relying on laxatives long term – not good! Finally Miralax has never been FDA approved for children under 17……hmmmmm…..that’s interesting.
Acupuncture is also something I would recommend as a preventive measure to boost the immune system and can be done anytime during the school year. Secondarily, children with allergies or asthma will benefit from acupuncture treatments to boost immunity and the body’s defenses to best prepare the body for fall allergens. Acupuncture is also extremely beneficial if your child gets a cold or illness. See your acupuncturist as soon as possible. Treatment of early onset colds, flus, and stomach bugs usually respond with quicker healing times rather than late onset illnesses.
Lastly, and personally the most difficult to maintain and monitor, is giving my children a healthy diet. What we eat in times of stress is important. If we are feeding our bodies highly processed foods and a fair amount of sugar or CRAP foods, this is adding more stress to an already stressed out system. If we choose to feed our bodies mostly healthy foods than the body can easily digest and process these foods putting very little stress on our digestive system which is closely connected to our immune system. This can be really difficult if our kids are getting CRAP foods from outside sources, i.e., soccer game snacks, chocolate milk at school lunch, and other “out of our control” situations. It’s all okay, don’t obsess, just do your best to give your kids a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. A good guideline to embody is including about 80% healthy, nutrient based foods and about 20% non nutrient based foods.
Disclaimer: The following information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.