This year’s back-to-school season might look very different than ever before, but it’s even more important than ever to make sure your littles (and you) stay healthy. Whether your kids are going back to in-person schooling, starting the year off virtually, or a combination of the two, it’s critical to boost their immune system. By teaching them healthy and clean habits, you can help support their overall health.
We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help your family make it through this time of year with fewer sniffles, stomach viruses, and stress.
Supporting Immune Health
Fortifying your kid’s immune system is one of the key parts of staying healthy during this transitional time period. Incorporating immune–boosting fruits and vegetables, such as wild blueberries, kale, and mushrooms, into a daily diet is a great way to get natural sources of vitamins and minerals. Fueling their bodies with healthy and organic plants during meal time can provide much needed fiber, antioxidants, and probiotics as well.
It’s become more well known that gut health plays an important role in immune health and adding in probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt is a great way to support a healthy gut. The amount of bacteria in our gut influences the ability of our immune system to function properly, and having too low of an amount of bacteria can throw the immune system off balance. If you want to try some yummy gut-friendly recipes, check out the Fall issue of KIWI.
One of the number one immune–supporting habits is establishing good sleeping habits. Your kids’ bodies need to be well rested so that their immune system is able to have the energy it needs to fight off viruses. Depending on their age, making sure they get at least 8–12 hours of sleep each night is the first step in keeping them healthy.
Adding a daily multivitamin or immune supporting supplement is a smart way to make sure your kids are getting all the nutrients they need in the amounts they need to stay healthy. Supplements can fill in any nutrition gaps and provide an extra boost of vitamins and minerals.
A few basic ways to support your child’s immune system:
- Establish good sleeping habits
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, probiotic rich foods, and proteins
- Encourage regular exercise and play
- Incorporate immune supporting supplements, such as vitamin C and elderberry, in their diet
Supporting Mental Health
One of the hardest parts of the transition back to school without a pandemic can be the mental stress and shock of new classes, new friends, and a new routine. Make sure to regularly check in with your children about how they are coping.
One of the best ways to support your child’s mental health during this transitional time is to have open conversations about what they are feeling and experiencing. Establishing trust and understanding can be pivotal to seeing when your child might be experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression.
It’s important your child feels comfortable expressing any concerns or anxiety he or she may have about returning to school during the pandemic, so try to be as available and open as possible.
Reinforcing COVID-19 Guidelines
It might seem that this goes without saying, but make sure to encourage and reinforce guidelines set by your local and state governments. While each age group requires a more unique approach, it’s important that as parents you are setting a good example and reminding them of the importance of staying safe.
A few ways to make this process easier include:
- Having a unique and fun mask for each day your child has in-person learning and marking it with their name or initials.
- Sharing is no longer caring–remind your kids that sharing can potentially make their friends and family sick.
- Making hand washing more fun with 9 Hand Washing Songs for Kids.