From shopping for school supplies to coordinating new schedules and meeting new teachers, heading back to school is a time of excitement and stress. But for many parents, back-to-school 2021 is shaping up to be more stressful than exciting. The return to in-person learning amidst a new variant of coronavirus has them concerned about their children’s health.
There is a lot of information about steps adults can take to boost their immune systems (see our article about immune-boosting tips for the over-18 set) but what about kids? What are the best ways to help children stay healthy?
Here are some proven ways to support your child’s immune system gently and naturally this school year and every year:
1. Focus on food
It’s never too early to start eating Right for Your Blood Type. Not only is it critical for a strong immune system, but it also helps to build a foundation of health that will grow with your child.
A significant amount of our immune system is in our gut — and that's true for both kids and adults. What children eat is their number one defense against lurking germs and viruses. It’s easy to slack on healthy foods when sports and other after-school activities start heating up, but it’s important to remain vigilant.
Try to add more beneficial foods from your family’s Blood Type Diet food list to your weekly menu and make a strong effort to avoid avoids. (Learn more about planning meals for multi-blood type-families here.) Packing lunches can also make a difference. While schools are moving towards healthier menus, followers of the Blood Type Diet know that what’s healthy for one person isn’t necessarily healthy for another. Also, you might be surprised to know how many sugary, salty foods still remain in school cafeterias. A lunch that is Blood Type Diet friendly will also give your kids the energy they need to power through the day.
2. Create healthy sleep routines
Sleep is essential to support the immune system. While we sleep, our bodies create proteins which play an important role in our immune response.
For children especially, establishing consistent sleep routines is important. Not only does a routine help little bodies to wind down, but it also promotes quality sleep.
Sleep needs do change as children grow older, but whether you have a 3-year-old or a teenager, a consistent bedtime routine makes a difference. For younger children, incorporate bedtime activities in the same order every night. Whether it’s a bath and a story or a story and a snuggle, routines help their bodies prepare for what comes next – sleep! For older children, be sure that electronics such as computer screens, video games and smartphones are turned off an hour before bedtime. For all ages, going to bed at the same time each night helps create natural sleep-wake cycles.
3. Get kids moving
Exercise is known to help boost the immune system. Moving the body promotes circulation, increases white blood cells and moves them throughout the body quicker. It also slows down the release of stress hormones. Of course, kids aren’t likely to hit the gym. So how can you help them get their bodies moving?
One way is to make exercise fun! Get them outside every day for at least 30 minutes. Whether it’s riding bikes, jumping rope or going on a scavenger hunt, anything that gets their bodies moving more will help to stimulate their immune systems. As they grow older, help them to choose sports that they find fun.
4. Look out for signs of stress
Stress has a negative effect on the immune system. When stress is high, immune-weakening hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline make their appearance known.
It’s not only adults that get stressed. Pressure from school and peers can take a toll on children, especially pre-teens and teenagers. Adding to that the tension surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their day-to-day lives, many children are experiencing more stress and anxiety. The signs are not always obvious.
Look for things like changes in sleep or eating patterns, increased aches and pains, changes in mood or behavior, withdrawal or difficulty concentrating. Talk to your kids about how they are feeling. If you think they need extra support, talk to their primary care provider and/or school counselor.
5. Supplement with kid-safe products
Not all supplements are the same. And not all supplements are safe for growing bodies. D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition offers two excellent kid-safe products to help boost immunity and keep kids healthy.
ARA 6 and Proberry 3 Liquid can be easily mixed with water or juice or even added to smoothies. ARA 6 is a fiber-rich powder derived from the western larch tree. It’s a mild immune modulator, similar in action to echinacea, but is usable by all blood types. It also helps improve digestive health. D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition’s ARA 6 uses pharmaceutical grade larch arabinogalactan, ensuring that you're receiving the full benefit of its health enhancing properties.
Young children benefit from the use of elderberry as a general preventative against the flu and other viruses. Proberry 3 Liquid is a syrup that contains concentrations of antioxidant-rich berries such as blueberries, elderberries, cherries and red raspberries. It tastes great and is effective in promoting a healthy immune system.
Don’t let this back-to-school season add more stress than necessary. Start by planning ahead with nutritious meals for the whole family that include lots of beneficials. To create a family food list and make shopping a breeze, download the Official Blood Type Diet app – perfect when you’re “on the go.”