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Back To School: Raising Healthy Kids

For some of us parents -- it's the most wonderful time of the year. For others, it can be quite stressful as we prepare our kids and ourselves for the changes in routine and often very full schedules. And especially for our teacher friends and students - there is a lot of change and this can be a chaotic and stressful time.

There are many tips and tricks we have to help you and your family get off to a good start this school year and there are a few very key elements to setting the stage to an easy transition. Here is a quick list to start you off.


Start getting your kids back on track a bit early for the school year and try prioritizing a consistent bedtime. We are creatures of habit -- and most research shows that it can take up to 21 days to establish a strong and natural circadian cycle. Other research shows - that if we deviate from our bedtime by more than 30 minutes - this can throw the whole cycle off. Do your best to try to set a good rhythm for your kids. If you don't know when bedtime should be or how long they should sleep -- use this handy chart.

Sleep is paramount to our resilience, focus, mood, cognitive performance, physical performance, immune fitness and overall well-being. This is why it's number one on our list.

Other tips to keep your kids sleeping well:

- avoid bright light exposure at night especially of the blue spectrum [ this includes all screens and yes - even overhead lights]. Bright blue light will thwart the production of melatonin -- our main sleep hormone.

- avoid heavy meals close to bed-time. Especially high protein and high fat meals can be very thermogenic and interfere with our bodies ability to settle into a restful and restorative sleep. Aim to have bedtime over and done with at least 2-3 hours prior to bed-time.

- encourage your kids to get moving during the day. Physical activity is important to run our joints through their ranges of motion and our muscles to move and pull on the bone to create healthy and strong bones. This will also help with generating deeper and more consistent sleep.

If you are doing all of the above and still need some help with your child's sleep routine -- lets chat. We have a TON of ideas.


How are your kids fuelling themselves during the day? Food is an important conversation and really needs to be taught at an early age to establish a good and healthy relationship with food. We all have a different approach here and some might work for you and other's might not. Dr. Lia is a big fan of teaching your kids from a very young age - how to pack a lunch that will make them feel good throughout the day and is balanced. This conversation should focus on fuelling and not any kind of 'diet'. It's about establishing a healthy connection with food and the way it makes you feel. Dr. Jennifer suggests preparing and taking leftovers for lunch. The two big things to focus on are protein content -- are your kids getting enough? And are they getting nutritious food rich in vitamins/minerals.

Lunches and snacks are often where people get stuck -- especially with the restrictions of certain food items in classrooms/schools. Try some of these:

Here is another worksheet for Snack Ideas from Dr. Corey's September talk:

Snack Idea Checklist.
Download PDF • 2.90MB


The last major tip we have is around making time in your busy life to check in with your kids. How are they doing? Feeling? What things are coming up for them? Do they feel safe? comfortable? cared for? What are they nervous about? How does this impact them physically? What are things they wish they could try/do? What feels really tough for them? What feels unfair to them?

Counselling isn't necessarily the main reason you would come in to see an ND - there are many great ones in the area... but inevitably the things that come up in conversation will be of interest to your ND and may need to be addressed. For example: 'every time I have a test I get loose bowels and this makes me nervous to go to school.' These are very much things we need to know about and are able to help with.

Lives are getting so much busier with our endless connectivity and efficiencies. It takes an active and engaged effort to be present for your kids. Do your best - even if it's just a quick check in.

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