(BPT) - Here we are, a full school year later, and again moving into it with some uncertainty. Whether in-person or remote, masked or mask-less, there are a lot of new experiences ahead for students (and their parents). And, whether your child is entering kindergarten or high school, there is an increased focus on their physical health and mental well-being.
Rest assured there are certain steps to help make a healthy transition. Sharpen your pencil and take note of these seven tips for the new school year.
Make a habit of good hygiene. According to the CDC, 80 percent of common infections are spread by hand, and washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to clean any germs that may cause infections such as the flu or common cold. The second best is hand sanitizing with a 60 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Encourage frequent hand washing with your children and make sure they have hand sanitizer for when they can’t get to a sink. Provide your child with their own school supplies to help minimize sharing and the unnecessary spread of germs. Good hygiene will keep your family healthy throughout the year!
Feed them the rainbow. A healthy diet strengthens the immune system, and a new school year is the perfect time to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your family’s meals. Start their day with a nutrient-rich smoothie — adding spinach or kale to a berry smoothie will likely go unnoticed, and will offer a great boost to their day. Incorporate pureed vegetables, such as cauliflower, into their mac and cheese. Create healthy sorbets or “nice” cream with frozen fruit. Healthy food fuels a healthy immune system — and a little effort goes a long way!
Protect their gut. About 70-80 percent of the immune system is housed in the gut and there’s a direct connection between the gut and the brain. Improving digestive health benefits immune and mental health, so now’s the time to get gut healthy. Incorporate probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, asparagus and garlic which promote healthy digestion. Add a daily probiotic, such as delPRO, to your child’s back-to-school routine, to keep their tummies in balance. And, don’t forget, if your child is on a course of antibiotics, a probiotic will help restore beneficial gut flora.
Keep them moving. Look for opportunities to get your kids moving. Exercise increases metabolic activity, mitochondria functions, better absorption from food and better blood flow that increases cell nutrition and energy supply, making all organs work better, including the brain. A walk to school, a bike ride after dinner or a weekend hike are great options for the whole family.
Balance, don’t boost their immune system. A balanced immune system is optimal for well-being. That’s why it’s so important to support your child’s immune health daily. Consider an all-natural, daily immune supplement such as del-IMMUNE V that replicates the intestine’s natural immune action. It turns on and off when needed, which is exactly the type of protection your child needs now.
Build in some Zzzzs. Studies show that those who don't get enough quality sleep are more prone to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Adults require seven to eight hours of sleep per night; teenagers (13-18 years old), eight to 10 hours, and school-aged children (6-12 years old) nine to 11 hours of sleep. It’s important to prioritize sleep and look for opportunities to build more rest into your child’s day. Whether it's a short nap after school or settling in a little earlier each evening (remember to power down their devices before bedtime), the extra sleep will make a difference.
Be positive. Anxieties are high these days, but when it comes to kids, we need to keep our cool and be positive. Maybe it’s a matter of focusing on the upside of mask-wearing, e.g., protecting the elderly, approaching social distancing with a smile or taking advantage of this found time we have to focus on what matters most — your children, your family and your health.