Back to School: Support Your Child's Immunity and Mental Well-Being
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
It's hard to believe a new school year is upon us with so much uncertainty still in the air. I will keep this blog light-hearted because I know this has been a trying time for us, parents, and we've had to make some tough decisions about the upcoming school year.
My goal is to provide useful information on ways to support your children's overall well-being (and yours too) whether they are returning to in-school or online classes.
Here are a few suggestions to ensure positive mornings and a plan to take back the night.
Balance blood sugar levels in the morning to support mood, concentration/brain function, and squelch the morning hangries. Upon rising, drinking at least 8 ounces of water can re-hydrate and re-energize our bodies after a night of sleep. You could add some lime or lemon to warm water to reinvigorate and stimulate your digestion and wake you up according to ayurvedic text. Next, have a breakfast that is nutrient-dense with protein, fiber, and good healthy fats, these satiating macronutrients are sure to keep your blood sugars stable. Here is a kid-approved, no added sugar smoothie recipe that can be tweaked to meet your family's preference.
Whether your child is learning online or in-school, having them eat nutritious snacks is a great way to ensure they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need. A fun way to accomplish this is having children make or pack their snacks based on "eating the rainbow." Each color in fruits and vegetables represents a load of different minerals vitamins and phytonutrients. Easily incorporate vitamin-rich fruits and veggies (berries, citrus, leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers) all year long for a robust immune system!
Curb the sugar intake! Summertime is epic for its afternoon popsicles and ice cream for dessert, but cutting out a lot of the added sugar can help the immune system function better. People with the highest added sugar intake also have the lowest micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) consumption. They are eating empty calories with no nutritional value, leading to feelings of fatigue, causing the immune system to run down, and poor concentration because they are not getting the proper form of energy required to thrive. By crowding out the sugary processed foods with real whole foods, such as apple slices, cucumbers with a dash of salt, or bananas with nut butter, your children will be getting more of the vitamins and minerals their bodies require and save yourself the sugar crash mood swings. Help your children choose real foods they love and will eat that support health and overall well-being.
If your children have been anything like mine, they started putting you to bed at night and then continued with their late-night shenanigans. I have two teenagers, and with the cancellation of all sports and camps, they are simply not burning off enough energy during the day to crash at night like they used to. One of the most challenging things for me every summer and without a doubt, this summer is to pull back the clock at night so they can wake up earlier for school. My best tried and true tips would be to set up a hard-stop for all electronics, video games and TV at least an hour before bedtime, don't be afraid of implementing the "screen time" feature on the iPhone that allows you to schedule time away from the screen and set time limits for apps. A few weeks before school, their phones will shut down (minus the apps I allow and phone calls) at least an hour before bedtime. They're going to need to get back in the routine of getting their backpacks ready for school the next day, picking outfits, packing snacks and lunches, and flossing (haha) before bed. Read more helpful suggestions here on how to take back the night.
"Without enough sleep, you will function poorly, with compromised motor skills, judgment, cognitive performance, depressed mood, and immunity."
- Dr. Frank Lipman.
Please know I am thinking of you and sending out good vibes and luck as we embark on another school year after experiencing one of the weirdest summers on the books. If you have children who have to do online school, here are some practical self-care techniques to support your mental well-being. Be so kind to yourself, as we are all in uncharted territory and just trying to do the best we can. Here for you!
In good health,
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