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As your little ones start to settle into routine during the first month back to school, it’s a good idea to take a couple of precautionary measures to set them up for a safe, healthy year.

Here are five back-to-school health tips to consider, according to technical writer and editor, Corinne Bett.

 1.  Establish consistent bedtimes  

It is essential that kids get an adequate amount of sleep so that they are well rested and able to stay focused throughout the school day. Sleep deprivation has also consistently been shown to impair different components of immune function. Most kids need 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night, so establish a consistent bed schedule to set their body clock by going to be bed and waking up at the same time every day.

2.   Get moving

Incorporating sports and exercise into your children’s daily routine is a great way to keep them healthy while maintaining a healthy body weight. One hour of physical activity daily helps kids build strong muscles, bones and joints, feel less stress and more ready to learn, and sleep better at night.

3.   Supplement

Keep their immunity up by supplementing with vitamin C, zinc, elderflower and quercetin. A large review of studies has found that regularly taking vitamin C and zinc reduces the duration of common cold episodes in children. Additionally, modern research shows that elderflower has antibacterial, antiviral (including against influenza viruses) and immune stimulating effects. Quercetin, a naturally occurring element in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, is widely used in natural medicine for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and antiviral properties. Look for a natural supplement containing a good dose of vitamin C, zinc and probiotics to help support their digestive health and immunity in one hit.

4.   Teach good hygiene habits

Take steps to avoid infections by educating children about proper hygiene habits. The most effective way to avoid spreading or catching germs is to encourage hand washing. Simple soap and water is best, but hand sanitizers are another handy option for kids to keep on hand.  Remind your little ones to always cough or sneeze into the crooks of their elbows or into their sleeves to avoid spreading germs.

5.   Refuel with good nutrition

The health of a child’s immune system is greatly affected by their nutritional status. Factors that reduce immunity include: nutrient deficiencies, excessive sugar consumption and consumption of allergenic foods. Dietary factors that enhance immune function include all essential nutrients and antioxidants. Thus, consistent with good health, optimal immune function requires a diet that:

  •          is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts
  •          excludes junk foods, excessive amounts of saturated fats and refined sugars
  •          has adequate protein
  •          has plenty of pure water

Consult your healthcare practitioner to find out which supplement is right for your children. Always read the label. Use only as directed.

How do you keep your kids healthy? Share with us in the comments.

  • All good points, thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  • I’ve started trying to get the kids moving early enough so I can take them for a walk before dropping them off the school and day care. We make a game of it, playing chasies in the dog park and they really seem to enjoy it, as does the dog!

    Reply

  • All very valid and important points. I think routine is important and my little one has a multivitamin also.

    Reply

  • Yes to all of the above. I have a 16 year old about to start Year 12 and we’re all about keeping him as fit and healthy as we can this year. That includes preventative asthma medication and nutrition and sleep.

    Reply

  • I did all of these. I am amazed to see parents who don’t have regular bedtimes for school, keep their kids out late at the pub the night before. They have no issues with their kids missing days of school because of this

    Reply

  • All great tips especially No.5!

    Reply

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