by Sarah Senter, LAc, ACN of @medicine_kitchen
Autumn is officially here! As we wrap up the summer and find ourselves in this transition time I always find myself thinking of how to support our bodies during so much change. Going from the hottest, slowest dog days of summer into the fast paced routine of public school & fall festivities is truly going from one extreme to the next! This can take a toll physically and emotionally on the kids… and let’s be honest, on us adults, too. Being the health nut I am, I like to get a system in place for boosting immunity and wellness at the beginning of the school year to give my kids the best foundation possible as they navigate a place full of exciting (and possibly overwhelming) new things, new experiences, lots of new bodies, and lots of new germs. Many families ask me – why does my child get sick so much? I do all the right things and she still picks up every cold? Children get sick more easily than adults for several reasons – their digestion is weaker, they tend to over-produce phlegm and mucus, and they are very yang-natured in TCM terms (hot natured), which makes them more susceptible to environmental pathogens. It’s part of growing, so don’t sweat it too much, but you can prepare yourself and your child for the fall season as much as possible with some of these natural wellness practices —
Start taking probiotics daily.
Probiotics are a must for my kids, not only because they fluctuate in how healthy they eat on a regular basis, but because I want them to have extra support for their digestive and immune health every day while in school. I love using these Jarrow Formulas Yum-Yum Dophilus tablets as they contain several strains of bacteria targeted for these issues & keep my kids extremely regular. I highly recommend probiotics for parents as well!
Get a subscription multivitamin going for the fall.
I like to make sure in the first few months of school my kids are getting all their vitamins needed each day as they transition into more focus time, more immune stressors (hello candy and birthday sweets), and less outdoor time. One of my new favorite resources for highly-absorbable multivitamins that are very low in sugar is First Day Vitamins. You can subscribe to get your vitamins delivered each month and they come in a cute kid-friendly package that truly makes my kids wants to get involved in their health.
Stock the medicine cabinet with the essentials.
Before fall really kicks in, I like to restock our medicine cabinet with herbal and allopathic essentials. Liquid Vitamin D, Elderberry syrup, and some pediatric Chinese herbal tinctures are always on my list for when the kids start to get run down or pick up colds or coughs. I also like to have Many Chinese herbs can only be ordered through a licensed practitioner, so if you need help in building your herbal medicine cabinet – get in touch!
Invest in a few calming oils.
Essential oils can be very helpful in calming a nervous child or establishing a grounding ritual for the school year to keep your kids feeling secure and confident. I also like having a few oils for respiratory issues and sleep disruption. I love the brand Eden’s Garden which is easily found on Amazon and just as high-quality as many popular brands being sold right now. Rub a calming oil like this one on the chest when they’re feeling anxious or restless, or try one for respiratory support on their back if they start a cough.
Talk to the teacher about snack.
I remember when my oldest son entered kindergarten and for the first couple weeks would complain to his teacher that he wasn’t feeling well or had a stomach ache during the day. I thought maybe it was nerves initially, but we soon discovered that he was hungry and didn’t know the exact rules about eating his snack in the classroom! If you have a child who needs to eat frequently, make sure they know when their snack time will be in school and talk to the teacher about it to make sure they get it. Having stable blood sugar and eating whole foods is important for kids when trying to prevent illness. Regular eating with help their digestion & stress levels, and in turn help their immunity.
Plan lunches with love.
The cafeteria can be an overwhelming place in an elementary school, especially if your child has previously been in a smaller, controlled preschool setting for mealtime. It can be loud, chaotic, and fast. If you’re packing lunch, include some old favorites in the first month of school as the kids settle in. Also consider including a love note or reminder note – whether it be in symbols for a non-reader, or words. Having a little warm-hearted reminder of home may help ground an overwhelmed child, or at least get them to pay attention and focus on their food. Again, digestion is a huge part of immunity!
Revise my morning routine.
The transition time between seasons is a great time to revise your daily rituals and routines. What was working during the summer may not work anymore with earlier alarms and a rush to school. Take time to feel out your needs and see what may need to change to better support you now. What do you resonate with? What feels right? What could you do to feel more stable or grounded in your day? These are good questions that nourish our Earth element (that corresponds with seasonal transitions times) and help us regroup and align with our health needs throughout the year.
The invigorating buzz of fall is finally here! I hope these tips help you feel prepared and energized.
Photo by Alysha Rainwaters