Back-to-school is always a busy time of year as kids transition back to regular bedtime routines, homework and tests and new environments each fall. These adjustments can be stressful and combined with less sleep and the change of seasons can lead to weakened immunity and resistance to colds and viruses. Fortunately, there are a few natural ways to help boost immunity and prevent illnesses to keep kids healthy for a successful start to school.
- Make a nutritious, balanced diet a priority. Teaching kids at a young age the importance of healthy eating habits can make a lasting impression on health, including keeping germs away. Emphasize avoiding processed foods, and eating plenty of fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains. Limit sugar, a known immunity suppressant. Start their day with a satiating breakfast, such as oatmeal with fruit, yogurt and granola, or a veggie-packed omelette. Continue with a balanced lunch and snacks, such as a sandwich with lean turkey, whole-wheat crackers with cheese, and fruit. Finish with a healthy dinner of fish or other lean protein with veggies.
- Supplement with extra immune boosters. Multivitamins and probiotics are a good idea, not only for the start of cold and flu season but every day. To support immunity for back to school, adding vitamin C and zinc have been shown to promote immune health. Elderberry has been shown to work well in children over 12 years old.
- Soap up often. Experts say the #1 way to ward off sickness is to practice frequent hand washing, so encourage your child to lather up regularly. In addition, make sure kids avoid the habit of touching or rubbing their face, especially the nose, eyes and mouth, to avoid infection. At home, frequently clean high-contact items, such as doorknobs, faucets and telephones.
- Ensure kids de-stress. As there is a direct correlation between stress and a weakened immune response, make sure kids have time to play and unwind. Encourage time outdoors to unplug from technology, as well as creative activities such as painting and drawing. Exercise is also an ideal outlet, strengthening immunity, busting stress and protecting against childhood obesity. Experts even suggest that children try yoga and meditation, which have been found to boost immunity, improve concentration, lower stress, increase confidence and much more.
While every extra precaution helps prevent getting sick, sometimes it inevitably occurs. Don’t fight it—instead, make sure your child stays home, gets plenty of rest and keeps hydrated