Janine Buisman Wilcox Naturopathic Doctor
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Supporting Your Child with Back-to-School

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It’s that time of year again!  Here are a few of the things I often discuss with my patients in order to ease the transition:

  1. Bedtime: Now is the time to create more consistency here if you’ve gotten out of routine.  Have discussions with your children on when a reasonable bedtime might be considering the necessary school wake-time and start to move your routine forwards. The first steps for accomplishing this are to: promote movement earlier in the day, minimize electronic use after dinner, start to dim lights to leading up to bedtime, open blinds to let the sun in the morning, and create consistency with sleep and wake times.  If it is a struggle I will sometimes consider adding supplements in for a short time to get on a new rhythm.

  2. Breakfast: Mornings are classically rushed, so brainstorming hearty and quick breakfast ideas is a must.  Cereal + milk have a lot of simple carbohydrates in them which cause blood sugar to go up quickly and then drop quickly.  Both the highs and lows in blood sugar can contribute to energy, sleepiness, and difficulty focusing. Adding protein, fiber and healthy fats goes a long way to creating blood sugar balance.  Ideas include: overnight oats with lots of nuts/seeds, berries and a little bit of oil; eggs (in muffin, hardboiled, fried, or banana pancake form); a higher protein toast (such as Silver Hills Mack’s Flax) with nut butter and hemp seeds on top; smoothie filled with berries/greens, nuts/seeds and oil; or greek yoghurt and a protein-rich granola.   

  3. Schedules: While I’m a huge fan of scheduling for adults, I am very careful about kid schedules.  It is really healthy for kids to have down time, time outdoors, time to be bored, and time to be creative. If we’re running from before-care, to school, to after-care, to swimming, to dance; there is little extra time.  Nor is there time to connect as a family or eat good meals. Extra-curriculars in moderation can be fun growth opportunities, but watch to make sure you’re not over-scheduling both for you AND your kid’s sake.

  4. Immune boosting. It is time to get back on the Vitamin D, consider further immune support, and have your cold/flu tools all ready.  It is also a good time to review proper handwashing, and to be more mindful of sharing drinks, utensils, etc.

  5. Digestive support.  If your child has any tummy trouble (pain, constipation, diarrhea, etc.)  now is the time to get in to figure that out. The start of school can accentuate these things so it is helpful to have a plan in place.