Whether your young child is starting school for the first time or going back after the long school holidays, the whole family needs to get into an organized and stress-free routine once more. And top of the list is doing your best to ensure a happy and healthy child who is ready to learn and to enjoy his or her time at school.
Packing that lunch
Pack a healthy lunch (and one that your child will actually eat) in a BPA and lead-free lunch box or bag. NaturalNews.com suggests the traffic light model for children's lunches.
- Green for Go – all the fruits, veggies, whole grain products, nuts and organic meats and dairy – suggestions include organic blueberries, strawberries, graqpes, apples, a hardboiled egg, peanut butter or cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread, yoghurt (for a daily probiotic), nuts, trail mix, organic chips, carrot sticks or cheese sticks.
- Yellow for Caution - the ones you should be more careful about including in the lunch box - desserts, baked goods, juices and...
- Red for Stop - those you should avoid at all costs - sodas, foods with artificial coloring, flavoring or sweetening and processed foods.
Be aware that many classrooms are declared “peanut or nut free zones” because of child allergies so that cuts out some of your options. Add a re-usable bottle of purified water and a small ice pack to keep the whole packed lunch cool and fresh both in hot weather and when the classroom is heated.
Try to pack your children's lunches the night before to save time and stress during the morning rush.
Don't forget those outside sources of foods and beverages
Get involved in what your child's school stocks in any vending machines or provides in a cafeteria. Encourage the school to stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice in the vending machines. Remember that each 12-ounce soft drink can contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child's risk of obesity by 60%.
The morning rush
Get into the habit of having a "sit down" and healthy breakfast with your children before they leave for school. I tell my young grandson that he needs both “brain food” and “growing food” for his day at school. This is a good time for them to take a supplement to boost their immune systems for the coming school year – particularly the winter months when the cold and flu germs start doing the rounds. Please avoid any thought of a flu vaccine – so much safer to boost the immune system naturally with healthy eating, regular exercise and a good night's sleep. Vitamin D is vital for that same immune system and unless you live in a warm climate with plenty of sunshine all the year round and exposure to that sunlight, your child is going to need to take a vitamin D3 supplement during the winter months. The dose should be 2000 IUs daily.
Talking of exercise, this is important every day for your child's health whether it is structured exercise, riding a bike or playing in a park or the back yard with other children. A good rule of thumb is to have 30 minutes of play or exercise for every 30 minutes spent in front of a TV screen. Of course time for study or homework has to be fitted in too.
Clothes for school
Clothing can be another problem in the morning so work out with your child the night before what he or she is going to wear and bear in mind any dress code guidelines and abide by these. An easy to carry backpack should be packed ready with all supplies to cut down on the morning rush. The backpack should have wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments with the heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight and ensure your child uses both shoulder straps, as slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
Say goodbye to your child with confidence and love, reassuring him that you will see him again at the end of the day. If he has been used to going to pre-school, there should be no difficulties. And the next day or that evening, the organization starts all over again!