5 Back-to-School Tips Every Parent Must Know (Part 1) - Ayurveda | Everyday Ayurveda

5 Back-to-School Tips Every Parent Must Know (Part 1)

By on August 19, 2015

As we prepare our kids for going back to school, many moms and dads are concerned about keeping their kids healthy this winter. More and more parents are asking, “what can I do preventatively now to keep my kids healthy this year?

On average, school-age kids in America experience eight to ten colds a year, according to The Children’s Hospital Guide to Your Child’s Health and Development.

With six kids in our family, we have no choice but to keep our kids healthy. If my kids each got sick six times a year (well under the national average) and each bout lasted ten days, that would be 360 days a year with at least one sick kid in the house. Assuming mom and dad never get sick, we would enjoy a whopping 5 days of good family health a year.

Over the years, I have streamlined five basic lifestyle tips based on a 5000-year-old, time-tested medical system called Ayurveda. They are all outlined in my book, Perfect Health for Kids, and I have summarized them here. These tips are designed to help kids stay healthy in the first place. If they do get sick, it will be only for a day or two, rather than a week or two.

Read on to learn five essential tips to keep your kids healthy this year!

The remedy for staying healthy is actually very simple. It starts weeks, months, and even a season or two before the dreaded winter hits. Let’s start with a look at what makes our kids susceptible in the first place.

There are always two factors in this process:

  • The first is the exposure to some bad bugs. For all practical purposes, there is nothing we can really do to prevent our kids from being exposed. In a classroom or school cafeteria, every child will be exposed to every bug, but only a small percentage will typically get sick.
  • Why? This has to do with the second factor in this process: susceptibility. Keeping your child’s immunity strong enough so they do not succumb to ever-present bugs in the first place is the goal. It is here that parents can keep their children healthy, in school, and out of the doctor’s office. Enjoy these five immune boosting tips!

Tip #1: Moisturize the Sinuses

During these first weeks of school, the exposure to immune-challenging bugs is certainly higher. What is also happening in early fall is that the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. Cold autumn nights bring hints of winter with dry and cool air. Night heaters may dry the air even more and soon, the mucous membranes in the sinuses dry out. When this happens, the respiratory mucous membranes produce large amounts of reactive mucus due to the dryness. Seasonal pollens and pollutants can also act as irritants to the sinuses, which can cause excess mucus production and a runny nose. As excess mucus is produced, this provides the perfect breeding ground for bad bugs. Most remedies, like Sudafed or antihistamines, will attempt to dry out the reactive mucus in the sinuses, making the runny nose better but further irritating the sinuses.

Solutions: Keep sinuses moist with cool mist humidifiers at night during those early back-to-school days, and keep them running right through the winter. Sinuses generally begin to dry out in mid-August, so the end of summer is not too early to break out the humidifiers.

Ear oil is another cold remedy that antidotes the end-of-summer and fall dryness. It is an absolute must in my house. Preventively, from September to March, I will drop warm ear oil in my kids’ ears while they sleep, twice a month. If they come down with a runny nose or a scratchy throat, I will use garlic-based ear oil twice a day until they are well, usually a day or two. Ear oil lubricates the Eustachian tubes, which helps support better lymph flow through the cervical lymph, which governs upper respiratory immunity. Your local natural foods store likely carries a variety of ear oil products.

Tip #2: Early To Bed

One of the most difficult parenting tools for moms and dads is to get their kids to bed early. When one of my children gets sick, I can usually track it to lots of staying up late, sleepovers, school stress, and excessive after-school activities that just wear them out.Pre-high school kids should be in bed by eight o’clock. For high school kids, lights should be out by ten.

This may sound difficult, but if a child is up past these hours on a regular basis, they will wake up fatigued and soon, when the stress mounts, their immunity will suffer.

If you like botanical remedies, I use an herb called Ashwagandha (sometimes spelled ashwaganda) which means, the strength of ten horses – I use the whole herb, not the extract. It is a great and very safe adaptogen for kids. It can give them energy during the day and at the same time, if taken before bed, it can support a deep and restful night’s sleep. It is not a stimulant, nor a sedative – it is a true rejuvenative that can help a child weather a stressful time.

Solution: Get those kids to bed early!

…Stay tuned tomorrow for Tips #3, 4 and 5 to keep your kids health as they head back to school!

(This article was excerpted from John Douillard’s book Perfect Health for Kids.)

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About Dr John Douillard

Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP, is a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda, and sports medicine. He is the creator of LifeSpa.com, the leading Ayurvedic health and wellness resource on the web. LifeSpa.com is evolving the way Ayurveda is understood around the world, with over 700 articles and videos proving ancient wisdom with modern science. Dr. John is the former Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets NBA team, author of 6 books, a repeat guest on the Dr. Oz show, and featured in Woman’s World Magazine, Huffington Post, Yoga Journal and dozens of other publications. He directs LifeSpa, the 2013 Holistic Wellness Center of the year, in Boulder, CO. For more information visit www.lifespa.com.

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  1. Pingback: More Back-to-School Tips Every Parent Must Know (Part 2) - Ayurveda | Everyday Ayurveda

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