It’s back to school soon! Keeping our kids healthy during the school term can sometimes be a challenge.
After 8 long weeks of a wonderful summer holidays, my daughter is counting down the days to get back to her friends and her teacher, and I am counting down the days that I won’t hear “what are we gonna do today?” a thousand times! All this time at home has meant we’ve been in our own little world, having beach days, pool days, picnics in the park and play days with friends. It’s been glorious (mostly)..
But counting down to school has made me think of how gross kids are and how many germs are just waiting to be swapped. When Bailey started day care, I was horrified at how many “medieval” things are still lurking about, infecting our kids.. Things like slapped cheek, nits, hand foot and mouth and impetigo. It’s gross! What these things do though, is test out our kids immunity and hygiene practices.. Primary school is really no different. Nits goes round and round, a cough will travel from classroom to classroom, you get the picture! The number one thing I would love every parent to embrace is the concept of quarantine. It’s when you separate someone who is ill from everybody else, to avoid the germ/bacteria/virus spreading. In simple terms, keep your kid home when they are sick! Don’t take them to school/playgroup/the library/the shops/the park/anywhere they can be in contact with other people until they are WELL! That will help DRAMATICALLY the spread of a lot of stuff..
What else is in our control?
1. Teach your kids to wash their hands after they go to the toilet! Sounds simple, but they forget. You have to drill it into them every time they go, until it is second nature. As soon as you start potty training, start teaching this habit. It’s never too early! Check with your school what they are using in the toilets. A crusty bar of soap and a wet towel is not good hygiene, so have a chat to them about stopping the spread of germs.
2. Cover your mouth! Another thing we have to teach our kids BEFORE they go to school is how to cough and sneeze so it reduces the spread of germs. When I was a kid, it was into our hands, but the health experts realised that spraying the germs onto your hands and then toughing everything was just as bad as not covering, so the recommendation has changed. It’s now advised to cough or sneeze into your elbow! So, please, practice at home. As with most things with kids, they learn the most by us role modelling, so check out how you cough and sneeze next time!!
3. Utilise essential oils to keep them in a little germ free bubble. I have a spray that goes into my daughters hair every morning before school to keep critters at bay. It’s a nit and tick repellent, and it has antibacterial oils in it as well. She hasn’t had nits since we started using it, and she got a tick the day she forgot to spray..
It’s a combo of lemongrass, neem, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, rose geranium and grapefruit.
4. Use herbs to boost immunity. The start of school terms and the change of seasons means new viral challenges, so we meet them offensively, with a preventative herbal tonic. Depending on the season, this can be made of herbs like echinacea, elder, astragalus, pelargonium or andrographis. Make them into a tonic or a tea and use a low dose daily. Medicinal mushrooms are so great for the immune system. They are so easy to use with kids, as you can hide them in smoothies or home made chocolates. Reishi mushroom is a star for boosting immunity.
5. Lunchbox Makeover. What you send to school for lunch will make a massive difference to your kids immunity and overall health! Keep the treats for parties, and only send nourishing homemade goodies!
6. Nutritional Medicine. Make sure your child is meeting their nutritional needs by eating a diet filled with colourful fruit and veggies, and wholefoods. Focus on foods high in vitamin C and zinc, as these nutrients are what we need the most for a strong immune system.
7. Outside time. Back to school for lots of kids means hours indoors in a classroom, so take time before and/or after school for nature play. This has multiple benefits: vitamin D, microbial exposure from dirt, and mental health support from being in nature!
8. Probiotics. Good gut health contributes to a good strong immune system. I mix up the strains of probiotics every time I get a new bottle, but my fave is LGG for allergy support.
9. Fats. Kids need lots of fat in their diets. Essential fatty acids from fish, nuts, seeds and avocados provide omega fatty acids 3, 6 & 9, and these help regulate our immune systems. Use a good quality oil to supplement like hemp, or fish if they don’t get much fat in their diet.
10. Sleep and rest. Being a kid is hard work! Learning, playing, and growing is pretty taxing, and we need to schedule in quiet time for them, and make sure they get a good nights sleep. Our bodies do so much behind the scenes work while we are asleep! Things like cementing what we learned that day, and repair and create new cells.
Let me know if you have any other ways to keep our kids healthy at school!