Back-to-School Basics: Tips for Parents on Keeping Kids Safe and Healthy
Heading back to school this year may seem a little daunting as schools reopen throughout the country. Whether your child is entering kindergarten or high school, it’s likely their physical health and mental well-being are top of mind. As such, here are a few things to consider as you prepare your child for the new school year. So, sharpen your number 2 pencil and check out the list below:
Make mask-wearing the new norm. The CDC recommends that people (over the age of 2 years old) wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when social distancing measurements are difficult to maintain. Schools are requiring the same of its staff and students, so now is the time to introduce face mask-wearing to your child. Work with them to build up their face mask-wearing endurance by having them wear it more and more each day. Children learn from watching their parents, so if you wear one, they will too.
Buy a few different types of masks (different colors and themes too!) to find one that works well with your child. There are so many variations on the market, and it will be important that the mask fit your child well. Once you settle on the right type of mask, make sure you have a supply of them on hand, in the car, in their backpack.
If your child is resistant, consider implementing a rewards system to encourage them. Reinforce how their protection impacts others, especially the at-risk population which may include grandparents. This notion may be most effective in helping your child rationalize wearing a mask.
Set physical boundaries. Admittedly this may be one of the hardest things for children, especially younger ones, but it’s so important to maintain distance (at least six feet, if possible) when interacting with strangers, friends, and extended family. Meeting up with another family on a large outdoor field or park area; plan front porch play dates; driveway games – be creative and find ways for your child to engage others safely. In addition to reinforcing this concept with your child, you may also have to do so with the adults in your life. Keeping a distance is not easy for anyone, but it’s a short term practice that will have long term benefits.
Make good hygiene a priority. In addition to frequent hand washing, it’s important to stress hand sanitizing throughout the day. Make sure your child has his or her alcohol-based hand sanitizer on hand at school. Put one in their backpack, pencil case or lunch bag, etc. Ensure your child has a chance to disinfect throughout the day – even if they can’t get to a sink.
At the same time, make sure your child also has his or her school supplies. We want to minimize sharing at all costs.
And, when your child returns from school, have them wash their hands, change their clothes, and maybe go the extra step and have them take a shower.
Good hygiene is crucial and encouraging them to participate in these basic, but very important activities will make a big difference.
Strengthen the immune system from the inside out. There’s a lot of discussion around immune support, but what we need to focus on is immune modulation. A balanced immune system provides optimal effectiveness and well-being. del-IMMUNE V duplicates the natural immune action that occurs in the intestine, which is the core of human immune activity. It turns on when needed and off when not, which is exactly the type of protection necessary now.
Don’t neglect gut health. A strong digestive system is so important when it comes to children, specifically those who suffer from food allergies or stress, so boosting their gut health should be a focus leading into the school year and all year long. You may not know, but there is a direct connection between the gut and the brain, and it is inflammation that begins in and oftentimes stems from the gut. Taking a daily probiotic such as delPRO, which is formulated with del-IMMUNE V and Bifidobacteria, will help to stimulate good microbiota growth. In fact, when taking delPRO in conjunction with del-IMMUNE V, the process becomes even more effective and occurs faster.
Nurture healthy eating habits. Look for opportunities to make healthy eating fun. Introduce more fresh fruit and vegetables, now during the summer months, when they are aplenty. Creating healthy eating habits should be a lifelong habit, so if your child is young, now’s a perfect time to set them on course. If they are older, there’s still hope and with a little effort, anyone can make a change.
If your child is averse to trying new foods, look for fun ways to present them. For example, start their day with a nutrient-rich smoothie – adding some spinach or kale to a berry smoothie will likely go unnoticed, and will offer a great boost to their day. Or, incorporate pureed vegetables, such as cauliflower, into their mac and cheese. Give them a sweet treat at the end of the day using frozen fruit to create healthy sorbets or “nice” cream. Remember, healthy food fuels a healthy immune system – and a little effort goes a long way!
Encourage exercise. Exercise increases metabolic activity, mitochondria functions, better absorption from food, and better blood flow that increase nutrition supply to cells and detoxification processes on the cell and organ level. With better cell nutrition and energy supply, all organs work better, including the brain. Look for opportunities to infuse exercise into your child’s day, whether it’s walking to school, a bike ride after dinner or a weekend hike, getting some fresh air is good for everyone! If you are not outdoorsy, consider indoor exercise. Sign your child up for a remote dance or martial arts class, or explore YouTube for yoga or other appropriate workout videos that your child can do from your home.
Be positive. Anxieties are high these days, but when it comes to kids, we need to keep our cool and be positive. Be mindful of what you say and how you react to the situation at hand. Maybe it’s a matter of focusing on the upside of mask-wearing, e.g., protecting the elderly, or approaching social distancing with a smile, or taking advantage of this found time we have to focus on what matters most – your children, your family, and your health.
At the end of the day, you need to decide what makes the most sense for your family, but we do believe that these things will make a difference in protecting kids and adults, now, and in the long term.