It’s that time of year again! With all the excitement of new teachers, new backpacks, and new lunch boxes, it’s easy to forget the stressors your kids will face in new classrooms. The back to school season can bring illness as kids transition to a new classroom with new germs and new stresses. Your kids don’t have to bring home all the bugs they are exposed to. Make sure they have a healthy back to school transition, so their bodies are ready to fight the bugs they do bring home.

8 Goals for Healthy Back to School Transition

1. Prioritize sleep.

Start getting those kids to shut down early even before the school year starts. Good sleep is critical for a healthy body and mind. Start by turning off electronics and dimming the lights, then get them to bed at an earlier hour. The immune system rebuilds and the body heals during sleep. Make sure your kids are on a good sleep schedule that allows them to get the rest they need.

2. Get plenty of vitamin D.

The days have already started to get shorter and kids will have less time to play outside in the school year. Make sure they are getting the time they can to play outside to get some of that important vitamin D. You can also give them a quality vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is a great resource for avoiding respiratory tract infections, one of the key components to colds and flu. Learn more about Vitamin D.

3. Encourage physical activity.

As the end of summer nears, the summer boredom might have found your kids. Some kids turn into lumps with their electronics. Don’t let that happen! Find ways to keep them active. As life gets busier during the school year, it might seem hard to fit in active time, but it is very important for health. Good habits can start in childhood. It’s crucial for all of us to get active, so find physical activities the family can enjoy together and kick those kids outside!

4. Get their allergies tested.

This one’s important to help build a lifetime of health. If your child has food allergies, that will cause inflammation and strain the immune system. When we have food allergies we need to create antibodies or memory cells of those foods. It consequently takes more time and energy to create those antibodies, overworking the immune system. Our immune system can only do so much. If your child’s body has to send all its fighters to the inflammation, then it won’t have as many fighters to battle those bugs they are exposed to. Get their allergies tested!

5. Don’t give them the flu vaccine.

I’m going to say that again: don’t give them the flu vaccine. The vaccine causes more harm than good to your child’s immune system. It is full of toxins that weaken your child’s immune system and make them more susceptible to the flu. According to the CDC’s own studies, the flu vaccine hasn’t had an effectiveness rate over 60 percent for the past 13 flu seasons. In 2004-2005, it was only a 10 percent effectiveness rate. Read our top reasons nobody should get the flu vaccine.

6. Get your kids adjusted.

Did you know that getting your child regular adjustments can help prevent sickness? Preventing inflammation and ensuring the nervous system does not have any added stress is important for a healthy immune system. Studies show increased white blood cells in just 15 minutes after an adjustment!

7. Provide a nutritious diet free of sugars and grains.

Make sure your kids are getting a varied diet of veggies and fruits that are full of nutrients and antioxidants. A nutritious diet will help build the immune system. Cutting out grains and sugars is a good suggestion in general, especially for building the resiliency because sugar and gluten will disrupt your gut flora, compromising your immune system. Since 80 percent of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract, you can’t afford to attack it. Worried about continuing the healthy eating into the school year? We have some ideas for healthy school lunches!

8. Reduce emotional stress.

Emotional stress isn’t just a problem for adults. It’s something kids encounter too, especially during times of transition like back-to-school! Help your children find ways to reduce their stress and manage their emotions. Studies have found the ability to regulate emotions in kindergarten is indicative of success in school and career development. It also helps to lower risk of substance abuse and mental health problems. It is never too late to teach ways to help regulate emotions! Check out our article on a breathing tool to help kids reduce stress.

Written by Dr. Mitch Sutton