Are your kids going back to school?
We have 4 easy tips to help any family get prepared!
The problem we all face is the transition back to a school schedule after enjoying the lazy days of summer. Whether starting first grade or university, starting a school schedule is a busy time of year for everyone – students, parents and teachers.
Going back to school can be busy and stressful because there is a lot to do.
It requires careful planning, timing and preparation to get to class on time.
To make it easier it helps to plan—and you’ll probably have to wake up earlier in order to get everything ready to go on time. Then, in order to get to school on time, you’ll need to catch the bus at the right time (in the right place) or you’ll need to plan your route if you’re driving or walking.
Finally, by the end of the day, you’ll likely have a list of things that need to be done for the next day. This can be paperwork, signatures and a number of dates and deadlines to add to your calendar.
All of this can be quite overwhelming and stressful.
It’s no wonder that students are often used in research about stress! Research tells us that it is when we are most stressed that we become susceptible to illnesses, including colds, flus and other infections. So even though this is not such a convenient time to get sick, back to school is one of the most common times for you to come down with a cold.
Headaches, stomach aches, anxiety, sleep issues and rashes are all also more likely when you’re ill-prepared for all that back to school brings.
Research tells us that it is when we are most stressed that we become susceptible to illnesses, including colds, flus and other infections. So even though this is not such a convenient time to get sick, back to school is one of the most common times for you to come down with a cold.
Here are 4 Back to School tips that will help you stay healthy throughout the school year.
Tip 1: Sleep – get lots of it!
The best way to prepare for the next day is to get a good night’s sleep. Two weeks before school starts, we get our son to go to bed 15 min earlier per night so he is ready to wake up on time for the first day of school. We need sleep so our body can recover and repair from our daily activities. This is the time that our muscles repair, our tissues heal and our immune system kicks into overdrive. Children (up to about age 12) need at least 10 hours of sleep to support healthy growth. Adults need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night and it seems like teens can sleep all day!
To make sure you are well rested, count backwards from the time you need to wake up in order to determine when you need to go to bed to ensure you are getting enough hours of sleep. Make sure you are sleeping in a dark room, without stimulation (TV, computer, cell phone, iPad etc), and with a high quality air filter (especially if you have allergies).
For more sleep tips refer to our patient resources – Suggestions for Sleep.
Tip 2: Meal planning
Meal planning is a great way to save time in the long-run by spending extra time preparing.
Plan what you are going to eat for the week and go grocery shopping on the weekend. For instance, protein is a very important for keeping your focus and energy up throughout the day so make sure you include plenty of it in your shopping list. Examples include nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken, beef and turkey.
You will also need plenty of fruit and vegetables to choose from so make sure you stock up on them too. It can help to prepare a few meals in advance and freeze them to use on a busy night. Dr. Chris has created “The Essential Diet: Eating for Mental Health” which provides a 2 week meal plan, grocery list and nutritional analysis – get your copy today!
Each day you’ll also want to think ahead about what you’ll need to keep you going through the day until your next meal. Know that if it’s been four hours since you last ate, that you need something to keep you going until your next meal.
Tip 3: Daily Nutritional support – THE Foundational Five
While we aim to get as many nutrients as we can from our food, it can be helpful and necessary to add in nutrients in pill, powder or liquid form. This is especially helpful when you are stressed and busy. We refer to these vitamin and herbal supplements as “The Foundational Five” because they give your body the essential nutrients and bacteria it needs in order to stay well and function optimally.
Multivitamin: A high-quality multivitamin contains the nutrients that every cell in your body needs to function, for bones to be healthy, and for your liver to do its job to detoxify.
Omega 3 fats: Research indicates that omega-3 fats (from fish and algae) improve brain function, mood, immunity, and prevent heart disease and cancer.
Probiotics: Research demonstrates that probiotics are important for students’ wellness. They support not only the health of your digestion, but also your immune system and metabolism, as well as nutrient production in your digestive tract. Read more about probiotics here.
Vitamin D: In addition to a children or teenage multi, we recommend taking additional Vitamin D.
Herbal or Homeopathic immune support: There are many herbal and homeopathic formulations that are safe and effective for children to boost immunity to prevent illnesses.
Tip 4: Create a routine
This point is extremely important and often overlooked. Kids crave routine and many in today’s culture don’t have it. Remember that the goal is to minimize stress in your kid’s lives so that you are also less stressed. If you have a regular schedule you can take the chaos out of your life and replace it with sense of calm. It can help to get your kids involved in making the schedule.
Here is our short morning to-do list:
1. Make bed
2. Put dog outside
3. Get dressed
4. Eat breakfast
5. Put dishes away
6. Brush teeth
7. Help pack lunch
8. Pack backpack – agenda, fill up water bottle, lunch box, etc
9. Feed dog
10. Extra time: read, complete workbook, draw
Children love responsibilities, so don’t be afraid to share simple tasks. Plus, it helps take the stress off parents!
Best wishes to you with back to school!
Children, parents and teachers all have an important goal: learning. We hope these back to school tips will help you accomplish that goal and feel your best doing it.