You’ve double and triple checked the supply lists for the start of school.
You’ve gotten their hair cut.
You’ve bought new shoes.
But have you checked your cupboard for wellness supplements to keep their immune systems in tip-top shape?
One of the things that I love most about the summer is that my germaphobe self can relax a bit more knowing that my kids aren’t going to be exposed to every single bug under the sun that can lead to runny noses, sore throats, hacking coughs or the worst for this emetophobic – puking. Admittedly, I’ve gotten a lot better over the years but hearing the dreaded, “My stomach hurts,” used to turn in to instant anxiety for this mom.
With school back in session, I’ll share some of my most tried and true tips for keeping my kiddos healthy.
- Start with good hand hygiene. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Nothing fancy is needed her other than warm water and some basic soap. Make sure your kiddos are scrubbing all surfaces of their hands for at least 30 seconds and drying them thoroughly. (I also like to frequently change out my hand towels.)
- Food matters. Specifically, avoid foods with added sugar. Sugar in foods can decrease white blood cell activity by up to 50% for up to 5 hours. It’s important to nourish your body with healthy foods that provide lots of vitamins and a balance of macronutrients.
- Sleep is SUPER important. With busy schedules, it’s important that your kids are getting plenty of rest. The average 6-13 year old needs between 9-11 hours of sleep per night. If the alarm is going off at 6:30AM, that means a bed time between 7:30PM and 9:30PM. If they’re younger, they need even more. And if they’re older – they still need a good night’s rest.
- Sleep hygiene is just as important as bedtime. With the increased popularity with screens, it’s important to make sure that kids are screen-free for the last hour before bedtime. Blue light emissions from devices can stimulate the brain making it harder to fall asleep.
In a perfect world, we could get all of our nutrition from our food but sadly, due to the depletion of minerals in our soil, our fruits and vegetables can fall short. Additionally, when our immune systems are active due to a virus or bacteria, sometimes we need more nutrients. Here’s what I keep on hand for daily and acute use:
- Probiotics. I have probiotics on-hand at all times. UltraFlora Balance is my go-to for myself and my girls once they were old enough to swallow a capsule. This can be taken daily but doesn’t always have to be depending on gut-health history. If your littles can’t swallow a capsule, there is an UltraFlora Children’s chewable or a liquid for babies.
- A high-quality daily vitamin. I would love to think that my kids eat well enough to warrant not taking a vitamin, but they don’t. The Suppy’s Chewable can has a broad spectrum of vitamins plus some extra vitamin C and vitamin D that can support immune system function.
- Omega 3 fish oil. Our diets are rich in omega-6 fatty acids but fall short in omega-3s. High-quality fish can be hard to come by which is when a supplement can come in handy. Omega 3s are available in many forms including gummies, capsules and liquids – easy to take forms for just about anyone!
- Calcium (in the proper form). Bone growth occurs only through early adulthood. With more parents jumping off of the milk truck, it can be helpful to supplement calcium in the form of MCHC which is found in the Cal Apatite Bone Builder Chewable. MCHC (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate) is highly absorbable and contains naturally occurring calcium, phosphorus, and trace amounts of other minerals, bone growth factors, collagen and other vital bone proteins. It also features vitamin D and additional magnesium for enhanced bone health support.
- UltraFlora Acute. This is my go-to probiotic for gastritis related diarrhea. Instead of taking an anti-diarrheal that can slow down diarrhea but not let the bad stuff out, I like to put good stuff in with strains of bacteria that can calm an upset GI system.
- Oregano Oil. When signs of a cold kick in, I give my girls a capsule of oregano oil in a controlled dose found in the Oreganol blister pack. I have the liquid form for myself that I will drop down the back of my throat when I feel a scratch or an itch, but be forewarned – it is potent!
- Vitamin C. Extra vitamin C has been shown to boost immune function and is in greater cellular demand when your white blood cells are working hard. Instead of extra OJ, which is full of sugar and usually devoid of the vitamin C it should have thanks to a super-short half-life, I love the UltraPotent C chewables.
When an illness starts, encourage lots and lots of sleep. Sleep works better than anything you can buy. I’m also that slightly overprotective mom that will keep her kids home for that extra day just to make sure that they are getting plenty of rest. Nothing is worse than an illness rebound.
We can’t stop all illnesses from happening, but with the right care, we can maybe make them less intense, shorter in duration and keep others around us healthy.