With summer winding down, and thoughts turning to back to school, there are a few simple things you can start doing now to set your kids up for a successful school year.
1. Supplement their magnesium. Most kids don’t get enough magnesium through diet alone. Magnesium deficiency in children can cause symptoms such as growing pains, cramps, energy highs and lows, mood swings, headaches, difficulty sleeping, as well as more severe migraines, ADHD, and asthma. A study found 72% of children with ADHD reported better concentration and cognitive function with magnesium supplementation. We recommend a high quality supplement formulated specifically for children, like one from our partner Natural Calm.
2. Go with your gut. More and more research is surfacing about the importance of gut health to our overall well being. Recent studies have linked our microbiome to our genes, immune system, brain health and memory, and risk factors for chronic disease. Other studies have focused on the importance of microbiome health in pediactric medicine. Exposure to germs, avoiding antibiotics and antibacterial soaps/gels, and a diet high in fiber are all key to keeping our kids’ microbiomes happy and healthy. A probiotic like Bio-Kidz from our partner Bio-K Plus can also encourage great gut health.
3. Get active. The CDC recommends kids get at least one hour of physical activity each day. Making exercise part of a daily routine means they are much more likely to hit that goal. Walk or bike to school, encourage outdoor time before dinner, limit screen time (including phones and tablets), plan active family outings, even make a fitness game or competition the whole family can participate in. 4. The most important meal of the day. Starting the day off with a healthy, protein-rich breakfast is one of the best ways to set kids up for success at school. One study which looked at various research on the effects of breakfast on school performance found an “increase in on-task behavior following breakfast may indicate that children who eat breakfast are more able to concentrate, pay attention and are more alert at school.” Some breakfast ideas with lots of protein are eggs, yogurt and fruit parfaits, bananas and almond butter, overnight oats, and a fruit shake with protein powder. We recommend natural and organic protein like our partner Kura Nutrition.
5. Keep them hydrated. It’s important for kids to remain well hydrated, but the biggest challenge is getting them to choose water over sugary soda and juice. One great way to do this is to add a splash of colour and flavour to their water with fruit. Get them involved and make fruit-infused ice cubes with whatever combinations they can come up with.
6. Omegas are important. Omega-3 fatty acids are a building block for the brain, and studies have shown they have a significant impact on cognitive function and low levels in children may even be linked to physical aggression and behavioral disorders such as ADHD. We recommend a supplement forumlated for kids like our partner Barlean’s Kid’s Fish Oil Omega Swirl.
7. Eyes and ears. It’s always good practice to get the whole family’s eyes and ears tested before school starts. Typically, the schools don’t test for hearing and vision problems, but it’s best to start screening when they’re around 11 or 12 years old. Vision and hearing problems can disguise themselves as behavioral issues or can lead to learning challenges, and it’s an easy thing to rule out.
8. Promote good sleep. Start developing a sleep routine now and it’ll be less painful when school starts. Make sure to end screen time two hours before bedtime and encourage quiet activities like reading. Include sleep-promoting foods into bedtime snacks, like almonds, bananas, cherries, and walnuts. Diffuse essential oils like lavender and chamomile that have been shown to help with insomnia.
Back to school can be a hectic time as everyone’s routines change after the summer, but with a few small tricks it will be a smooth transition for the whole family.