Holistic Family Healthcare with Dr. Sara Hart, ND, MSOM, LAc
This week begins the transitions for kids returning to school after a playful and sometimes exhausting summer. To spare yourself and your little ones the stress and upheaval of a new routine, prepare their bodies for the transition.
The transition to living a life on schedule is a dramatic shift in some households where kids have been able to sleep in to their hearts content. Sleep deprivation can
cause significant challenges in mood and behavior. Even missing thirty minutes of sleep per night can cause a young student to operate at a whole grade level below what they’re authentically capable of!
Crank back the clock gradually by re-setting the bedtime routine. Setting the bedtime back fifteen minutes each night is enough to shift the system without causing the confusion and insomnia of trying to get to bed too early.
Sleep support for the routine’s transition:
Chamomile tea is a safe and yummy sleep aid for all ages.
Passionflower solid extract is useful to help calm hyperactivity.
Valerian tincture is useful for adults to get to sleep earlier, but is not recommended for children due to its affect on neurotransmitters.
Warm baths with Epsom salts and lavender flowers is a luxurious way for anyone to relax, ideal for the whole family!
Keeping up with the intellectual demands of the school year can be an abrupt transition from summer’s freedom. Mental overload is a true obstacle that can be very intense for some kids.
Nutritional support to help the brain thrive:
Blood sugar balance – breakfast feasts are an important way to give your kids the tools their brains and bodies will need to perform their best. Approximately 30% protein, 30% vegetables, and 30% complex carbohydrates (whole grains) is the formula for optimal blood sugar. This is especially important during phases of significant growth.
Omega 3 fatty acids – supplementing the brain with omega 3’s in the form of liquid or chewable fish oils gives kids a neurological boost for extra synaptic activity.
Fresh fruit or protein snacks are key to keeping the energy going. Crackers, sweets, breads, cookies, pretzels and other carbohydrate-full, packaged foods will encourage a blood sugar rush and predictable crash that won’t be appreciated by the teachers.
Just when they’re completely wired or totally zapped, kids return home from their active day at school to deal with all the aspects of family life. Chores, homework, connecting with family, and the myriad of activities they’re involved with can push stress over the top. Assist the afternoon ease by facilitating a stress free after-school time and help their bodies learn stress management early.
Tools for after-school ease:
Afternoon napping – Surveys of individuals who routinely nap in the afternoons demonstrate greater productivity and brain function. Thirty minutes of quiet reading, or just lying still sharing stories of the day’s activity, can help make this down time appreciated.
Attention – While focus is a challenge for many kids at school, attention is something everyone benefits from when received from others. Make the transition out of school activity a special time for parent-child connection.
Tea time – The tradition of afternoon tea is especially helpful for the transition from one hectic thing to the next. Licorice root is a very sweet, delicious herb that helps balance stress. Combined with lemonbalm or another nervine herb greatly balances the mood.
Nature – Spending time in nature greatly reduces stress hormones in the body. Plan some after-school nature exploration, hikes, or just a picnic out back.
Back to school means back to the plethora of immune exposures that for some can be year-long sniffles and sneezes. While it is beneficial for the immune system to be challenged, the way we deal with it makes the difference between a beneficial experience for the body or a harmful one.
Boost the immune system naturally:
Herbal allies – Boost immune activity with elderberries and astragalus while feeling well and Echinacea when an illness tries to creep in.
Hydrotherapy – Supporting fevers naturally is the best way for the body to improve overall health. The fever process encourages dramatic detoxification, improves gene transcription, and eliminates an illness. Stopping a low-grade fever can create confusion in the body and leave a pathogen to settle into the body.
Homeopathy – Safe and effective, homeopathic medicines allow for quick symptomatic support to the challenges of colds and flus.
For more information on tools for natural medicine and optimizing your child and family’s health, visit us at Stillwater Healing Arts in Lyons today! Now registering for our upcoming season’s classes on tools for everyday wellness. Our six-week THRIVE! series teaches individuals how to use herbs, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, nutrition, mindfulness, and more for everyday ailments and health. Visit us online at www.stillwaterhealingarts.com.