It is that time of the year again, the summer draws to a close, and the preparation starts for back to school. The beginning of the school year is one of the most exciting times of the year, and one of the most stressful because for school children it is a new beginning which means it's an optimal and essential time to either retrain or start good, healthy, habits for success. Having raised a child through the public school system I understand how challenging it can be, so here are a few things that we implemented to help with the transition from summer to fall.
1. Routine Is Key
Routine is very important for a youngsters developing mind, it decreases stress, promotes productivity, and success. When a child attends school they go through a routine, when a child participates in sports they go through a routine, at home should be no different. Set play times, and homework times but most important is setting a bed time. Good bed time habits in elementary school often carry over to middle and high school. A set bed time allowing for a minimum of eight hours sleep helps a child's body to fall into deep sleep and wake up refreshed. The habit of going to bed at the same time every night puts the bodies circadian rhythms in synch. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle and respond primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment. This is how someone can routinely go to sleep and wake up without an alarm feeling rejuvenated physically, mentally, and emotionally.
2. Eat A Well Balanced Breakfast
Often kids especially the older ones find themselves sleeping until the last minute, rushing to get ready, and rushing out the door to catch the school bus. You've heard it a million times, and it is true, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. After fasting the whole night the body is ready for nourishment to start the day. Not just any breakfast will do, it needs to be a balanced breakfast for energy. A balanced breakfast consists of one part protein, to one part carbohydrate, to one tenth fat (the size of your palm is approximately one serving so one tenth is approximately the tip of your thumb.) An example of a good balanced breakfast would be one whole wheat English muffin with all natural, no sugar added peanut or almond butter, and one or two hard boiled eggs. Meal replacement shakes purchased at your local health food store can be a very easy alternative to putting the meal together yourself, just beware of artificial sweeteners and avoid them at all costs.
3. Pack A Lunch
More times than not school lunches consist of Pizza, Burgers, and Fries. Even though schools often have alternatives most kids are going to choose the high carbohydrate, high fat, high sugar choices over the healthy ones. How can this be avoided? People like what they are use to, everybody has the best deli, or the best pizza place where they grew up because that's what they are use to. It may be to late for some of the older high school students but for the younger kids; getting them use to bagged lunch with the ratio we spoke of earlier (1: 1: 1/10) will energize them until dinner. Packed lunches also offer the opportunity for healthy snacks throughout the day to keep them going.
4. Get Their Spine Checked
Kids play hard, they run, jump, wrestle, and fall down all the time. These traumas put wear and tear on our children's bodies and can cause misalignment in the spine that results in nerve pressure. The brain controls every single cell, tissue, and organ in the body, and it does this through the network of nerves its connected to. If there is pressure on a nerve that goes to the lungs, then they are not going to be able to function at one hundred percent. If there is pressure on the nerves that go to the stomach, then it is not going to be able to function at one hundred percent. What are some problems that can develop? Asthma, Bronchitis, Constipation, Diarrhea, and a host of other things. If the brain controls everything in our body, do you think it might have something to do with the immune system? You bet it does, and if there is pressure on the nerves that innervate that system, do you think it will be able to function at one hundred percent? If the immune system is not operating at one hundred percent do you think your child would be more susceptible to succumbing to sickness? Chiropractic care is so much more than fixing peoples necks and backs. Chiropractic care is overall health care for the whole family. Chiropractors are to spines as dentists are to teeth and both should be checked regularly.
Yours for better health,
Dr. Ryan Giel