It doesn’t seem possible, but the new school year is beginning. Whether you have kids in pre-school or high school, classrooms can be breeding grounds for immune system challenges because students are in such close proximity to each other. They will also be sharing school supplies, touching door handles and railings that hundreds of other children may have also touched. In fact, there are certain strains of E. coli, salmonella and other bacteria that can live on surfaces for up to two hours1.
School absenteeism is alarming. Approximately 164 million school days are lost each year to sick days among children in kindergarten to grade 12, which averages out annually to 4.5 sick days for each child2. A missed school day is a lost opportunity to learn. According to the Herald Times Reporter, just a few absences can affect a student’s academic success3.
As parents, how can we support our children’s immunity in preparation for the long school year ahead? If we subscribe to the philosophy of ‘it’s easier to prevent illness than treat it’, then we need to be proactive in making sure our kids enjoy a healthy and productive school year.
GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
We know how hard it is to get your children back on a regular sleep schedule after a long summer, but it’s more important than you may think. Memory and learning are consolidated during sleep, and with adolescents this primarily happens during the REM phase after deep sleep4. Studies show that students that get adequate sleep get better grades than those that stay up later and get less sleep5.
Lack of sleep doesn’t affect just grades either. According to KidsHealth, researchers believe that improper amounts of sleep can affect a child’s growth and immune system6. Children that do not get enough sleep at night are also at risk of obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health and problems with attention and behavior7.
There are some natural ways to help your kids fall asleep when they need to. Kid-safe herbal tea is one way to help your little one relax at night. Look for herbs such as chamomile, passion flower and lavender. Another natural method is aromatherapy. Essential oils such as lavender, sweet orange, cedarwood, roman chamomile, marjoram, vetiver and sandalwood can be used to help your child drift off to sleep. These essential oils can be used as a pillow spray or as a diffuser blend.
Due to our busy lifestyles, children don’t always get the nutrition they need for their growing bodies and minds. However, it should come as no surprise that students with healthier diets do better in school8. In a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), students who eat breakfast every morning, eat fruit and vegetables and avoid sugary sodas were also shown to get mostly A’s9.
Getting a child started in the morning is no easy task, especially when we need to get ourselves ready for work at the same time. It’s easy to pour out a bowl of cereal and call it a meal, but are we doing our children, and ourselves, any favors? Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast has a positive effect on a child’s memory and attention10. Colorful fruits and vegetables are strong immune supporters, as are yogurt, poultry and almonds11.
Whenever possible, try serving organically grown foods. Organic foods are often fresher, have more beneficial nutrients and organically raised animals are not given antibiotics and growth hormones12.
It’s so hard to always feed your child the right meals and snacks, and their gut flora can be adversely affected due to sugary or processed foods, antibiotics and even fluoridated water13. Since 70% of the body’s immune system is located in the digestive tract14, probiotics can help balance the good bacteria in their body that poor eating habits may reduce15. Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (gut flora) in the intestinal tract.
For optimal immune support, try combining a good probiotics supplement with Sovereign Silver’s Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol™. This article explains how to start a bio-active intestinal health program that you and your school age children can participate in.
With the abundance of hand held devices and video games available to our kids, it is no wonder that nearly one-third of American children are overweight or obese16. Regular exercising promotes better blood circulation and helps strengthen the heart and lungs, which boosts a child’s immunity17. In addition to strengthening muscles, keeping bones strong and decreasing body fat, exercising can also enhance a child’s self-esteem, increase concentration and alertness and boost their energy levels for those long days at school18.
Most guidelines suggest that kids and teens should get one hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day19. Your child may not like it, but regulating their technology until they get their homework done and go outside and play each day will benefit them in the long run.
With a little planning and some diligence on our part, our kids can get the immune support they need from diet and exercise to have a happier and healthier school year.
But you may find this back to school season that you and your family need some extra immune support.*Sovereign Silver has safe* and natural products for the whole family.
(1) Scott E, Bloomfield S. The survival and transfer of microbial contamination via cloths, hands, and utensils. Journal of Applied Bacteriology. 1990;68:271-277