Children and school. In my humble opinion, that has to be one of the most dangerous combinations. Don’t get me wrong: I love children, and I think that education is wonderful! But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned by having four children, it is this: the classroom is a breeding ground for bacteria and a perpetual show-and-tell for sickness.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of times that I have had to deal with different viruses and infections at home that were passed on to my children at school. I regularly got notifications from the school about outbreaks of chicken pox or lice infestations. And I’m sure that I’m not the only parent out there who has faced this problem.
So how do we as parents survive? Can you boost your child’s immune system in time for school?
Indeed you can!
Here’s the catch: if we want to really strengthen our children immune system, then we as parents need to be thinking long-term.
Now trust me, I know how daunting that can be. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t even figured out what I want to eat for lunch. And dinner? Oh, let me tell you, that is a whole different ballgame!
I get it: long-term planning is difficult. (Can I get an amen?!) So I’m going to make this super easy by outlining the top three areas where you can make practical changes to boost your child’s immune system!
Use Sleep Strategically
First things first: your child needs sleep. For some kids, this isn’t a problem. My eldest daughter would put herself to sleep at 8:30pm every night like clockwork, pretty much all the way until Grade 9 or 10! (Crazy, right?! But I wasn’t complaining!) However, other kids have difficulty falling asleep, whether because they have too much energy late at night or because they have an overactive mind.
My secret weapon has been setting up a nightly routine. After discovering the importance of setting a steady sleeping pattern, I implemented a nightly routine for my youngest. He goes through it every night like clockwork: bath time, reading time, blessing time, oil time. And even though this is an anecdotal experience based on very rudimentary research, you all need to hear me on this one! I have seen such a dramatic difference in the health and wellbeing of my 6-year-old compared to my other kids because of this nightly routine.
It is also important to limit screen time before bed. Watching movies or using the computer late at night tends to create hyperactivity and alertness in the brain, rather than promoting restfulness.
Watch Food Closely
Another lifestyle change to help strengthen your child’s immune system in time for school is implementing healthy eating habits. Now listen: I once found my eldest daughter literally eating sugar by the spoonful! So if your child has a sweet tooth, believe me: I completely understand!
Our North American eating habits have trained our children to choose snacks and meals filled with dairy, wheat, and sugar. I get it: convincing your child to go along with any type of important shift in their diet can be quite difficult at times. (Have I told you about the time I tried to get my kids to take cod liver oil?!) But the reality is that any type of long-term health improvement needs long-term lifestyle changes.
If you are serious about boosting your child’s immune system, consider making changes to their snacks and lunches. Instead of letting them grab that pizza from the cafeteria, pack them a fresh chickpea salad and some slices of fruit. Instead of purchasing that chocolate pudding from the grocery store, head over to the organic food section and grab some coconut yogurt. There are so many small but vitally important changes that we as parents can help our children make when it comes to their eating habits.
And get this: there are more neurotransmitters in the gut than in the brain! Conclusion? Not only will this help improve their overall wellbeing by removing those foods that suppress and weaken their immune system, but it will also lead to key improvements in their behavior at school, their level of concentration, and their mood at home! (Let me tell you something: if you could guarantee that me making a simple change in food choices would reduce the sass from my kids or—do I dare to dream?!—eliminate some of that teenage angst, I don’t care if I have to eat Brussels spouts with every meal, I would be making that change in a heartbeat!)
Get Probiotics Immediately
Finally, I would highly recommend getting some probiotics for your child to take on a daily basis. Probiotics are absolutely necessary if you are interested in strengthening your child’s immune system and overall health in the long run.
Picture it this way: regular sleep creates balance, healthy eating eliminates toxins, but it is the probiotics that actually repopulate the body with healthy bacteria that work to strengthen the immune system. Probiotics are powerful, and as parents, we need all the help we can get when it comes to combatting the germs and viruses that our children pick up at preschool. So call in the reinforcements by recruiting some probiotics!
And there you have it! These are some of the key ways that you as a parent can empower your family and boost your child’s immune system in time for school.
Feel free to leave a comment in the section below and let me know if you have any comments, queries, or questions!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go plan for dinner… if you want to comment with dinner suggestions as well, that would be much appreciated!