7 ways to Naturally Keep Your Kids Healthy : My Back to School Guide

If I had to choose the my number one health pillar, it would be the immune system.  Keeping it strong in our ever changing and toxic world should be your top priority. With that as the goal I wanted to share My back to School Guide with you so you can naturally keep your kids healthy during this season of transition. 

Transition times are always challenging because we are dealing with change.  It doesn’t mean the change is good or bad it’s just different.  It is that time of the year that some parents rejoice and kids moan and groan as the first day of school approaches—or maybe your kids can’t wait for school to start and it’s you who is sad  because you will miss them.

Either way, the first day of school is a big event in many family households—new school supplies, new school clothes, shoes, additional stressors and unfortunately, exposure to viruses and bacteria. It’s true that gathering lots of people together indoors day after day can lead to the exposure to a multitude of bacteria and viruses. How do you protect your school-aged (or daycare-aged) kids? 

The best course of action is to boost their immune systems so their bodies can fight off these bacterial and viral invaders on their own.  

Here is My Back to School Guide

1. Set up Routines and a Regular Family Sleep Schedule

About a week before school starts begin to set up your morning routines.  Set your alarm to wake up at the time you would need to get everyone up and out the door as if it was a school day.  Prepare a healthy breakfast, get the body moving with some play and exercise. Limit screen time and focus on cutting back on treats.  Starting this sooner rather than later will make going back to school less of a struggle and a physical shock to the system. 

There will be some resistance however it is best to start these habits now so that the immune system does not go down with the additional stress of the first day of school.

2. Load up probiotic-rich foods

 Eighty percent of our immune system is in our gut. Start the school year off strong by building up good gut bacteria. Serve more probiotic-rich foods  like sauerkraut or kefir or plant-based (unsweetened) yogurts mixed with fresh chopped or pureed fruit.  You could also try kid-friendly probiotic and immune boosting formulas

3 . Out with the sugar, in with the fruit

Summer, kids, and sugar seem to be an unavoidable combination, between pool parties, BBQs, and summer camps. However, sugar has been shown to alter the microbiome in some pretty extreme ways,  feeding the more pathogenic sugar-loving bacteria, which can crowd out beneficial, immune-boosting bacteria. Give your child’s microbiome a boost by sending them to school with fruit like colorful berries. 

4. Spend time in Nature

Summer is a time for outdoor play, but that doesn’t have to stop just because school started. Encourage your kids to be out in nature as much as possible all year round, not only for the exercise and fresh air but for the “sunshine vitamin,” aka vitamin D. The body absorbs sunlight using cholesterol to convert it to a usable form of vitamin D, and every single cell in your body requires              vitamin D—your immune system in particular. Create a routine that makes the best use of time.  Boycott the TV and video games so there is time for focused homework and outdoor time. (I know some of you parents are rolling your eyes but give it a go.  It might be just what you need too) When school starts, family walks, outdoor games, and dinners al fresco are good ways to keep the vitamin D flowing. 

As a side note: Research from the academy of pediatrics found that ” to really learn our children need to play”  I think this is also true for adults !!

5. Green up your meals

Of course we all know we should eat our greens, but do you know why? One good reason is methylation. Methylation is a biochemical process that happens throughout the body with many important functions, including detoxification. Sulfur-rich vegetables like brussels sprouts and broccoli, as well as dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, are loaded with the B-vitamins that fuel methylation and can help to power up your child’s ability to safely process and eliminate everything from pollution to chemical exposure.

And what about those kids who stubbornly refuse to gobbles up veggies? Try making green smoothies and popsicles with just a little fruit for sweetness. You’ll be getting the satisfaction of knowing they are strengthening their immunity and natural resilience.  By the way your kids are watching so you need to eat these lovely green veggies too! 

6. Experiment with essential oils

These fun and easy immune-boosters, like eucalyptus and oregano, have been shown to have antibacterial and immune-modulating capabilities. Try diffusing them into your indoor environment to support the whole family’s immunity. Eucalyptus has an energizing effect, and food-grade oregano essential oil can be added to meals to enhance flavor, as well as your child’s immune system.

7. Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

Antibiotics are prescribed more than 154 million times a year for anything from a wound to an ear infection. The purpose of antibiotics is to kill off bacteria causing infections, and sometimes they are lifesaving, for sure. However, the CDC estimates that at least 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. This matters because antibiotics not only wipe out pathogenic bacteria, but deplete the beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. Why kill off the good guys when it’s not necessary?

If a doctor prescribes your child (or you) antibiotics, don’t just accept the prescription without first asking a  few questions. How necessary are these antibiotics? How likely is it that your child’s natural immunity will take care of the problem without the medicine? Is this a virus and therefore an antibiotic will not help. Are there other natural anti-bacterial options? Doctors focused on natural health sometimes recommend alternatives  over antibiotics, to boost immunity without depleting the microbiome. Text me if you want my suggestions. 

I hope that this blog post is helpful.  Please feel free to share it with other families that could use these tips.  Lastly, nothing better than a chiropractic adjustment to boost the immune system.  See you soon

Have a healthy week

Dr Pia