Back to School – Simple Steps to Keeping Kids Healthy

Back to school time is exciting, but it can also get overwhelming for parents and children alike. When increased stress enters our lives, we are more susceptible to illness. The good news is there are preventative measures we can take to make the transition back to school easier on everyone. Here are a few keys to a successful start of the school year:
– Sleep: Getting enough sleep allows our bodies to repair and renew themselves. Good sleep habits in childhood lead to healthy adult sleep patterns. In Asian medicine, sleep is a time for the vital substances of body to be enriched, which means better mood, concentration and overall health. Kids ages 5-12 need 10-11 hours of sleep to feel their best. Teenagers are recommended to have 9.5-10 hours of sleep.
– Nutrition: It can be hard to get healthy food into our kids. Try getting them involved in meal planning. It can get them excited about eating new and creative meals. An old Chinese adage tells people to eat a meal with every color of the rainbow. This ensures a variety of nutrients. When packing meals for your child, give them options to choose from and see if they can make a rainbow! Here is what my daughter came up with: white and yellow hard boiled eggs, orange baby carrots, red apple, a few green beans, blue organic blueberry yogurt, brown mini bagels.
– Exercise: As some schools physical education classes take a back burner to other subjects, encourage your kids to get outside and get their bodies moving. If your kids aren’t interested in organized sports, there are many other options. Model for them the benefits of physical activity, whether you choose to dance in your living room or take the dog for a walk as a family, get your bodies moving together!
– Acupuncture as preventative medicine: Acupuncture is a great way to keep whole families feeling their best. Acupuncture treatments are modified for kids and can include insertive and non-insertive (a very gentle, calming technique when therapeutic tools are not inserted into the skin) depending on their condition and temperament. Acupuncture can be great to help alleviate symptoms related to allergies or keep your child’s asthma in check. Call us with questions!

– Emotional well-being: The first day of school can be nerve-racking, even for the veteran student. Remind your child that they are going to meet new friends and also get to see their friends from years before that they haven’t had the opportunity to see all summer. Being involved in your child’s school lets them know that you support them in their school environment too. It can be hard to fit another task into our schedules, so don’t pressure yourself with regular volunteer work if you don’t have the time. Attending your young child’s class for a few hours and showing them one of your skills (reading a book, or planting seedlings), or attending an older child’s after school game or performance can make your child feel more at ease and encouraged.

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