The start to a new school year has officially begun. This school year looks a lot different than what most parents and kids are used to. Whether your kids will be homeschooled or will be strapping on those masks and making their way into classrooms, keeping your child mentally and physically healthy is particularly important this school year. Here are a few things we are going to try as we push through the remainder of 2020.  

  • Helping your child positively navigate through this back-to-school transition can seem overwhelming but validating their feelings and putting a positive spin on things can help ease anxiety and worry about all things back to school. For example, acknowledging that the pandemic has been challenging and may have brought up emotions such as anxiousness or feelings of worry are psychologically beneficial for your child. Choosing not to discuss their feelings can lead to poor coping strategies and difficulty working through stressful events throughout their life. So, open communication and setting time aside to talk about how they are feeling may not seem like you’re doing much but can have profound effects on their mental health. Furthermore, reminding your child about the positive and rewarding aspects the pandemic is just as important as talking about the downsides.  Reflecting on the extra time spent together as a family, and tackling projects or activities together such as gardening, painting, or building projects helps them understand that despite challenging times there always is a silver lining.  
  • Speaking to your child and asking them about their concerns, worries and coming up with easy and practical suggestion to  work through them can help them build confidence and problem-solving abilities. Ex. if keeping a mask on for long periods is a concern, suggest ways to make mask-wearing something fun. Get them involved in choosing or designing their own masks. Make several masks with varying designs so they have options to reflect their daily mood and outfit. Have your kids wear their masks while engaging in basic tasks such as T.V. watching or playing video games. This will help them get used to wearing a mask for long period of time.
  • Parents, take time for yourself. This year has probably left you feeling worn out between work, home and family life. We understand, you have been stretched to your limits. Remember to take time for yourself every day, even if it’s a 10 minute cup of tea in a dimly lit room or a power walk down the street. 

Keeping both parents and children’s immune systems healthy as we head into cold and flu season, compounded with COVID-19 may seem daunting but small changes in your everyday life can help keep the immune system working optimally.

  • Having a diet varied in colourful fruits and vegetables, yes even the green ones, supply the body with important vitamins and minerals that play critical role in immune cell function. Hides those leafy greens in your children’s smoothies and pasta sauces. Get them engaged in meal preparation. Children are more likely to eat that piece of fruit if they helped chop and pack it up in their lunch box.
  • Consuming meals and snacks that are rich in protein are essential to immune health. After all, antibodies are primarily made up of protein molecules. Food sources of protein include meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • Supplementing with immune-supportive agents such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, zinc and botanicals like echinacea, elderberry or medicinal mushrooms can help keep your family feeling protected during the school year.

Give these suggestions a try and if none of these work for your family, that’s okay! We are all trying to figure this out so do what works best for your family. Keep an open-mind, talk to other parents and seek support when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Let’s face it, recognizing that we don’t have it all figured out during these challenging times and that things may change yet again, is all part of 2020’s shtick.

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