Don’t let this years back to school rush stress you out! We know that planning for September can commence as early as late July, early August. Feeling like you didn’t have time to get organized this year? Don’t fret, Dr. Erin’s got you covered! She put together a back to school must-have guide to help you fuel your little ones as they embark on their September adventures.
Awesome containers for real lunches! These stainless steel, unbreakable food containers are easy to use and chemical-free. They’re the perfect thing for busy go-getter Mom’s looking for an easy way to pack healthy meals to go. Check them out here https://www.lunchbots.com/.
HMF Fit for School
HMF Fit for School probiotic formula is a must-have when looking to support children’s immune systems. Not only does it have probiotics in each chewable tablet, but it also includes vitamin C and vitamin D to help reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). Children who took HMF Fit for School’s probiotic formula plus added vitamin C had 33% less incidence of URTI and 30% decrease in school absenteeism (PMID: 25205320).
Nebulizers or ultrasonic diffusers are great options if you’re looking to cleanse the air and leave a room smelling fresh. The best part is you can add a few drops of straight essential oil depending on what you’re hoping to achieve. For example, adding a few drops of lavender oil can help relieve anxiety and stress by calming down the nervous system. Try eucalyptus for when you feel that cold coming on. Diffusers serve a purpose and look great. Why not try one out?
Lavender Organic Hand Sanitizer
Can you see the theme here? Lavender is a must-have in my household! Dr. Bronner’s organic hand sanitizer contains none of the nasty chemicals that you find in conventional sanitizers. Its as effective, perfect for on-the-go, and leaves your little ones’ hands and faces fresh and clean. It’s light enough to keep in your purse and also pack in your kids lunchbox (if you know they don’t like to wash their hands before eating!).
Looking for healthy, clean, organic snack ideas for your kids? Look no further! Love Child Organics and Once Upon a Farm offer organic fruit and vegetable, nutrient-dense pouches suitable for babies, toddlers and even hungry adults. They come in all different flavors so even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy. A quick snack before extracurricular activities begin or on long drives home.
Is it difficult to get medicines into your child? Well, you are not alone!
Some children are content with any food you put in front of them, while others put up a huge stink whenever you encourage them to eat a healthy snack. It can be difficult to get your child to consume nutrient-dense meals that will allow them to grow big and strong!
How about medicines? Certain nutrients or herbal formulas can have very interesting tastes, often non-palatable to a young child. I have put together a list of my top, go-to ways to get medicines into children. They are fun, creative, and encourage children to take charge of their health!
- Add to Applesauce: Powders can easily be added to applesauce. TIP: Add only to the first spoonful! This keeps the rest of the applesauce tasting yummy for the child.
- Create Popsicles: Popsicles are always a fun treat in the summer. Try adding your child’s herbal tincture to a healthy popsicle creation for a nice tasting treat! This can also be soothing for a sore throat.
- Sweeten with Honey: If your child is over 1 years of age, add the herbal tincture to a spoonful of honey. TIP: Ask you Naturopathic Doctor if they have glycerate tinctures to ease the taste for children!
- Rewards Calendar: As your child gets older, let them take charge. Create a calendar and each time they take their medicines have them add a sticker to the calendar. After 10 stickers – take them out to Chapters to purchase a book!
- Through Momma: If your child is still breastfeeding, they can receive some medications through mom. Certain nutrients and herbs travel through breast milk and end up in baby.
It’s all about being creative!
What are some different strategies that you use?
In my practice, I am very fortunate to meet many families. In recent years, it has been more common for parents to report that they believe their young children are ‘stressed’ or ‘anxious’. This would make sense, as we know workplaces have become more stressful. Canadian statistics highlight males and females aged 35 to 54 were more likely than Canadians overall to report high levels of stress. These are the ages at which people are most likely to be managing the multiple roles associated with career and family responsibilities. So if moms and dads are stressed, how would we expect our children not to feel the effects?
The best advice I can give parents is to openly communicate with their children about their concerns. In addition here are some techniques that can help your child learn to cope with anxiety/stress symptoms:
- Reassure your child that everything is going to be ok. Teach your child to repeat a statement to help him/her stay calm. Use statements such as “Remember to breathe and relax”, “Hold my hand and breathe slowly.’’
- When anxiety symptoms arise, talk to your child and ask them what is wrong and why they feel the way they do.
- Teach your child how to do Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Begin with the feet and move upwards in the body contracting and relaxing different muscle groups.
- Ask your child to describe where in their body they feel anxiety – chest, stomach. Then instruct them to see that area and allow the stress there to melt away.
- Remind your child of their favourite place or activity and get them to focus on this. Get them to visualize their favourite place and see themselves there or doing their favourite activity. Allow them to describe this place or activity to you. Encourage your child to close their eyes.
- Have a child keep a small object that reminds them to calm down – a rock, cross, etc. This can accompany them to sleep and school.
- Limit sugar intake in the diet, especially in the evenings! Dilute fruit juices with water and look at all packaged food for hidden sugars.
- If concerned about proper nutrition, consider a children’s multivitamin formula or talk to your ND about improving nutrition.
- Try Chamomile or peppermint tea which can help induce a calmer state.
- Stick to routine. Kids love routine! Have your child follow the same routine during the week with some changes on the weekend permissible. As best as possible, stick to similar hours for eating and sleeping.
- Limit video games and TV watching. Avoid news or horror movies.
- Have a family meeting and discuss any stressors that may be present in your daily routine. Limit any potential stressors.
- Adopt a ‘we are in this together’ attitude and reassure your child that you will do whatever is necessary to help them.
- Parents, avoid having conflicts around children.
- Increase physical activities! Allow your child to join group sports which can help to release nervous tension.
- Try homeopathic and natural remedies which may be appropriate for your child. Rescue remedy can be added to water whenever needed.
- Consider working with a Registered Massage Therapist who focuses on pediatric care.
The above strategies can help parents better understand their children and their individual needs. If anxiety symptoms persist or worsen in severity, draw upon many support networks. Talk to family members to see if anxiety is present in other relatives and then share this with your healthcare providers. Talk to other parents and share your ideas and experiences. If no improvement is seen, consider consulting a child psychologist or psychotherapist in your area. Your Naturopathic Doctor is also a great resource when looking for implementing natural strategies to address stress and anxiety.
And lastly, let’s be the role model for our children. Seek a balanced lifestyle and encourage healthy activities. Be your best self in mind, body and soul.
Written by Dr. Odessa Gill, ND