Summer is coming to an end and the list of things we have to get done before the new school year is getting longer and longer. School supplies, new clothes, immunization forms, carpool arrangements, and after school activities, the list goes on and on. As parents, we can quickly become overwhelmed with the stress of the transition back to school. Then the anxiety sets in about how they are going to adjust physically and emotionally to the challenges of a new school year. As we prepare them for school, we often don’t think of how to prepare their immune systems. I know what you are thinking, another thing to worry about. This list is actually a very simple but an important guide to keeping our children healthy during the new school year. As the children return to school and share their tales of summer fun, they also share viruses and bacteria. Implementing a few simple rules can really help build your child’s immune system and keep him or her healthy during the school year.
A Good Night’s Sleep. Sleep is extremely important to maintaining good health and strong immunity. When our children are run down and tired, they become more vulnerable to becoming sick. School aged children need up to 11 hours of sleep. Preschoolers need a total of 13 hours of sleep per day. As we approach the last few weeks of summer, it is time to start to prepare our little ones for the up and coming school year. The summer months of late night bedtimes and no schedules can make back to school a difficult transition, especially for toddlers. So start early. Begin to slowly have your child go to bed earlier. We recommend starting bedtime preparation 15 minutes earlier each week for the month of August. This will help to accomplish a more seamless transition.
Teach them Hand Washing. The research has shown that the most effective way to prevent the spread of illness is to wash our hands. Good hand washing habits start at home. Make sure your children wash their hands often and with soap. My kids love Kandoo Moisturizing Hand Soap. It has a grape scent, which Mason and Charlee really like. They need to understand the importance of clean hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and arriving home from school. It is equally important to teach your child that if they are sick, they must cover their mouth before sneezing or coughing. A sneeze can travel as fast as 5o miles per hour and contain 100,000 germ particles. Make sure your child uses a tissue or wipe if they are fighting a runny nose or cough. Good hygiene is the key to decreasing the spread of germs in the classroom. Finally, know the guidelines of when your child can go back to school if they are fighting illness.
Good Bathroom Hygiene. Transitioning your toddler into preschool can be very difficult. Transitioning your toddler who has recently become potty trained can be near impossible. I learned the hard way with my daughter, Charlee, that daycare providers and preschool teachers are not allowed to clean accidents. They are not suppose to handle poop and are required to send home dirty clothes(poop and all). This can lead to a very messy and emotionally challenging first few weeks of school. After recovering from the horrifying present that was left in Charlee’s backpack, I quickly realized the importance of teaching her to wipe herself and proper bathroom hygiene. The first step I took was finding a good flushable wipe. Kandoo’s flushable wipe cleans up to 30% more than toilet paper. In addition, it really helps if you child does have an accident and needs to clean other areas of their body. It is imperative to start teaching them to wipe from the beginning. Of course, they won’t be able to do it completely but their skills will become stronger with practice and they won’t feel so helpless if an accident does occurs. I also love Kandoo because super easy to throw in the backpack and significantly decreases the spread of germs in the bathroom.
The Healing Power of Elderberry. A lot of parents struggle with illness when their child first goes to school. Parents are always asking me if there is any supplement they can give their child to help prevent illness. Although there is no magic medicine to help prevent illness, elderberry has been used since the ancient times to help promote immunity and alleviate symptoms of the common cold. This can be used similar to a daily vitamin. There are many ways to incorporate this natural supplement into your child’s diet. I love the idea of making an elderberry syrup for pancakes and waffles. Please remember there are contradictions and limitations to elderberry syrup so it is imperative that you discuss with your doctor whether it is appropriate for your child to start taking this supplement. Children under the age of 1 should not take elderberry. Please make sure your doctor goes over the appropriate dosing with you.