Your child has had a great summer playing with friends, enjoying family time, and exploring the great outdoors, but now it’s time to go back to school. The transition between the freedom of summertime and the structured rigor of academics can be a tough one—for you and your child. What’s worse, as temperatures cool, children may seem to get sick more easily, adding to the stress of a new school year. Many naturopathic doctors in Phoenix would probably say that helping your child to guard his or her health is an important aspect of parenting, but not necessarily one that requires extra work or complicated care taking skills. Just follow these common sense tips to keep your child healthy at the start of the new school year.
One of the most important aspects of staying healthy according to many naturopathic doctors is simply practicing balanced eating habits. Children especially need a balanced diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein and fats. Growth spurts and other developmental stages can come one quickly in children, so having the right sources of needed vitamins and minerals readily available can be crucial for muscle, bone, and brain development. Children who regularly eat balanced meals are also less likely to catch colds or the flu because their immune systems tend to be stronger. Make sure your child eats a proper breakfast before heading off to school. If you don’t approve of the lunch choices provided in the cafeteria, pack a more nutritious lunch. Limit your child’s intake of junk food and avoid overly processed snacks.
Another problem some naturopathic doctors see when it comes to children’s health is the over-consumption of sugary drinks packed with empty calories. It may be hard to deny your child the soda or energy drink that other kids are guzzling, but for the sake of your child’s health, be strong. Many of these drinks have exorbitant amounts of sugar and calories but few or none of the vitamins and minerals growing bodies need. Some drinks also come with additives, artificial colors, large amounts of sodium, and stimulants that can further damage your child’s health and that may be partially responsible for the increasing obesity rates in children across the nation. Instead, encourage your child to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Teach your child how to be hygienic and reinforce these habits at the beginning of each school year. Habits to stress can include thorough hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating as well as the proper way to cover coughs and sneezes: have them use their elbows rather than their hands to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading germs. Remind your children not to share their drinks or food with friends at the lunch table, which is a surefire way for a cold to spread through an entire class. If your child becomes ill, keep him or her home from school to avoid getting other children sick and make sure your child gets plenty of rest and liquids. You may also want to take advantage of natural remedies recommended by naturopathic doctors in Phoenix to speed up the healing process so your child can return to normal life as soon as possible.