Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School Health Planning

‘Tis the Season.

All of the stores are lined with back to school supplies of all kinds. Parents are frantically searching for every last item on the list: pens, #2 pencils, notebooks, colored dividers, snack size bags, tissue boxes, backpacks, and new clothes. By now, most families are starting to feel ready for the start of school.

In addition to all the back to school hype, doctors and schools are pushing kids to come in for checkups, “wellness” visits, and immunizations. These visits cover the basics in terms of a child’s health and clear them to participate in PE class, but visiting a doctor does not provide health for the coming year. Health is the responsibility of the person themselves, and children’s health is largely the responsibility of the parent. Furthermore, health is defined as more than just your blood pressure level, vision, and reflexes.

So do your wellness check if you need to for school. But to support your child’s actual physiology and health status, there are some things you should be doing daily - or at least consistently - for them and for you.

  1. Get adjusted. Chiropractic adjustments increase your immune response by 200%. Get your kiddo adjusted a few times before school starts, then shoot for weekly after that. Stay ahead of the coming cold and flu season.
  2. Cut out the sugar. Do not send cookies in your child’s lunch! Not only will the sugar interfere with your child’s focus and processing ability, it will sabotage their immunity. Cliche though it may be, send them fruit instead.
  3. Give them probiotics. The gut is 80% of the immune system, so support it. Probiotics give the gut good bacteria to help it function at its peak.
  4. Cut out the dairy. Generally speaking, dairy is not the superfood we’ve been led to believe. Dairy is a primary cause of inflammation in the body which can lead to all manner of degenerative diseases. Many families report their children focusing better when dairy is removed from their diet. It is not a necessary staple in the diet, so leave it out. You can get protein and calcium from many other sources that help the body absorb those nutrients. Cow’s milk? It’s a maternal lactation for baby cows.
  5. Vitamin C. This is the obvious immune support supplement. Eat oranges or strawberries. Take a plant based vitamin C supplement. Or send a bottle of water with Emergen-C in your child’s lunch instead of sugary juice boxes.
  6. Get them to bed early. Their bodies need to rest to function properly. This includes your teenagers – especially teenagers. Teach your kids good habits with regards to their health. Adequate sleep is essential for every system in the body.
  7. Exercise! Go for a walk as a family after school. Not only will you get the benefits of exercise, but you’ll be getting some much needed sunshine as well.
  8. Vitamin D. Get as much of the sunshine vitamin in as you can before winter sets in. Check out my post about all the benefits there are in getting your Vitamin D.
  9. Send them healthy lunches. I know this is easier at the start of school than at the end! Plan ahead so you don’t end up resorting to the regular peanut butter and jelly every time. Look up healthy lunches on Pinterest and get creative. Get your kids involved in the process. Fuel their brains with the good stuff!

Good health doesn’t come from a pill, a shot, or a checkup. It comes from daily habits that come in small, seemingly insignificant steps. The cumulative effect, however, is well worth each effort.

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