By: Chad Borys, ND, LAc
Keeping children healthy through the school is sometimes a challenge for parents, but it doesn't have to be. Consider incorporating the many tips in this article into your families life and make healthy habits part of a daily routine!
- Prioritize Sleep. Children need 10 or more hours of sleep nightly, depending on their age. Sleep is essential for good immune functioning and hormone production. Sleep also helps to promote a healthier mindset and the best potential for learning and growth. With sleep, focus on establishing a bedtime schedule to help support the bodies own internal rhythms.
- Practice Good Hygiene. Teach your kids to wash their hands, and ensure that they are washing when they get home from school, after using the bathroom, and before eating or touching their mouth and face.
- Organize Family Time. Family time is an opportunity for modeling healthy habits and developing communication and trust that will pay dividends later in your child’s life.
- Healthy Diet. Reduce sugar. Reduce Processed foods. Focus on getting good proteins and plenty of leafy green vegetables into your child’s diet.
- Plan Meals Ahead of Time. Make sure to have plenty of healthy options available for breakfast, and that lunches and after school snacks are planned. The physical, mental, and emotional changes your child is undergoing during school demand a lot of nutrients and energy.
- Reduce Stress. School presents a lot of mental pressures and one of the keys to promoting a healthy learning environment is developing predictable routines and open communication with your children.
- Encourage Physical Activity. Every child is unique, so make sure your child experiments with different activities to find something they love doing.
- Get Outside. Head outside on a daily basis for fresh air and to encourage play and creativity. Sunshine exposure is also important for vitamin D formation, which supports immune function and hormone balance.
- Limit Screen Time. Encourage activities away from technology. Screens can negatively impact sleep patterns if used too close to bedtime and can promote sedentary lifestyles. Consider reading books, getting outside to play, or other creative pursuits like art and crafts.
- Get Involved. Make your voice heard. Be an advocate for healthier children and communities. Insist on good school lunch choices and after-school programs that promote development and wellness.
- Supplements. Consider giving your children a daily probiotic, fish oil, and multivitamin. These can help provide nutrients which support healthy growth and immune function, and lower the incidence of colds and flus.
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