Health & Wellness

4 Healthy Back To School Tips For Your Young Ones

Heading back to school? It’s the perfect time to review my top healthy back to school tips.

From immune support to making sure they get enough sleep to setting them up for a productive day, let’s review my top tips to help keep your little ones safe and happy this school year.

 

4 Healthy Back to School Tips

Here are four of my top healthy back to school tips to help get your kids off to a great start this year.

1. Take immune-supporting supplements.

It probably comes as no surprise that supporting your child’s immune system is at the very top of my healthy back to school tips this year.

Between the delayed seasonal surge in RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) this year and the other well-known viral illnesses circulating, it’s only natural to be concerned about sending your kids back to school during this uncertain time. [1]

Fortunately, in addition to providing nutritionally-rich whole foods, there are a few supplements you can give your children to help support their immune health. Here are a few that I give to my sons and are worth with your children’s pediatrician:

I also recommend discussing the use of elderberry syrup with your pediatrician if your kids start to display symptoms of a cold or the flu.

Not only has it been shown to shorten the duration of flu symptoms by up to four days, but a 2019 meta-analysis also revealed that supplementing with elderberry extract at the onset of any upper respiratory symptoms significantly reduced the participants’ symptom duration. [2]

2. Keep a healthy sleep schedule.

In addition to supporting their immune health, making sure your kids get to bed on time and get plenty of quality rest is another one of my top health back to school tips.

Why? Well, not only will your children have better cognitive function with proper rest, but their bodies actually repair themselves and strengthens their immune systems during REM sleep.

Interestingly, a 2019 study revealed that proper sleep improves T cell functioning. [3] This is important because healthy T cells are necessary for proper immune function.

Additionally, getting enough rest has been shown to promote focus and improved self-control, especially in children diagnosed with ADHD.

According to another 2019 study, sleeping an additional 48 minutes at night improved inhibitory control in children diagnosed with ADHD by 13 percent. [4]

It’s worth noting that some children require a little extra help to calm down and ready their bodies for sleep.

So, if you’re looking for a few tips on how to establish a nighttime routine for better sleep, check out my article filled with tips that will help your little one drift off a little easier.

3. Eat a balanced breakfast.

When it comes to establishing healthy back to school tips, we have to take a moment to discuss the importance of eating a healthy and balanced breakfast.

First, it’s important to make sure your children are properly nourished for their overall health. Studies have shown the following about children who regularly eat breakfast: [5]

  • They are more likely to have higher intake of dietary fiber and total carbs along with lower total fat and cholesterol.
  • They tend to have 20 to 60 percent higher levels of iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D compared with children who skip breakfast.
  • They tend to be more active and are less likely to be overweight.

Additionally, studies have shown that eating a balanced breakfast is linked to improved learning, behavior, cognitive, and school performance in children. [6]

The good news is that creating a healthy, balanced breakfast for your kids doesn’t have to be complicated. Depending on their tastes and preferences, you can pair fruit with scrambled eggs and avocado, serve a bowl of oatmeal topped with berries and walnuts, or even whip up a quick smoothie.

You may want to consider discussing their options with them the night before so there are no surprises in the morning and your efforts in the kitchen don’t go to waste.

4. Set up a daily or weekly mental health check-in.

Finally, my last healthy back to school tip centers around setting up a regular mental health check-in.

Not only can the simple act of going back to school be overwhelming for kids after a long summer break, but being surrounded by a new teacher and new classmates can leave them feeling uncertain of their place in their new environment.

If your child is the kind of kid who comes to you with his or her problems, great! This should be a straightforward chat. But that isn’t always the case—especially as they get older.

Try setting up a special “date” with your child to check in and see how things are going. You can take turns sharing about your day or discuss the “highs and lows” of the week. If that doesn’t work, try a more indirect approach.

One thing that may help is to set up a weekly communication journal where your child takes time to write down his or her feelings about the new school year, from academic to social elements. Have your child set the journal in a special place each week for your review. You can then respond in writing to share encouraging thoughts with them.

Just make sure to leave all communication about any specific concerns or issues within the journal, unless your child comes to you first or you’re concerned for his or her safety.

 

Healthy back to school - Dr. Pingel

 

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