Schools are reopening and kids are excited to see their teachers and play with their friends! However, there may also be feelings of uncertainty about what the school year in our “new normal” may bring. More than ever, maintaining a strong immune system throughout the school year is important for the whole family. As children return to in-person learning this fall, preparation is key. Parents can help their kids prepare for the new routine with a holistic approach including a balanced diet, a good night’s sleep, exercise, proper handwashing, and a well-supported immune system. Building healthy living habits together as a family will pay off long after cold and flu season!
A Holistic Approach to a Healthy School Year
A healthy school year begins at home. Establishing a fun and engaging routine will help children develop healthy lifestyle habits that will not only benefit the whole family now, but will serve them well later in life. A holistic approach that supports physical and mental wellbeing is key to building a strong immune system.
A balanced diet
A balanced diet is the foundation of a healthy body and mind. A wide variety of nutrient-dense foods (including “eating the rainbow” of fruits and vegetables daily) provides us with the fibre, micronutrients, and antioxidants needed for optimal health. Encouraging nutritious food choices as early as possible will lead to better eating habits later in life. Involving kids in food preparation is a great way to do this!
A good night’s sleep
The longer, carefree days of summer usually means later bedtimes, but establishing your nightly fall routine a few weeks earlier will pay off in many ways once school starts. A consistent bedtime will not only help children function well during the school day, sleep also plays an important role in immune health. Predictable and comforting bedtime routines are also beneficial for your child’s emotional wellbeing.
Heading back to school, especially this year, can carry worries about what the school year will bring. As research shows that stress impacts immune function, it is imperative that kids (and parents) make time to unwind and rebalance. Exercise is an ideal outlet and has been linked to a robust immune system. Choose activities you can do as a family, especially while unplugged and outdoors, such as hiking or ball games. Yoga and meditation may also be helpful. Fostering connection and supporting the emotional aspects of your child’s health is one of the most important things you can do as the school year begins.
The Role of Supplements in Immune Support
While a solid foundation of healthy habits is essential to support optimal health, additional support may be needed due to our modern lifestyles. This can be due to nutritional issues, decreased time spent outdoors, poor gut health, or environmental factors such as soil, water, and air quality. Of particular importance for children are vitamin D and good gut health, both of which play an important role in their physical and emotional health. Oral probiotics and vitamin D supplements formulated especially for kids can help support and strengthen your child’s immune function.
Gut health and immune function in children
The body of research about the importance of gut bacteria for all aspects of health is expanding every year. Currently, it is understood that about 70 percent of the immune system resides within the gut, and having a wide variety of beneficial bacteria there is essential to staying healthy. The gut microbiome is still developing during childhood, and probiotic supplements are an excellent way to support their immune function and lifelong health. We recommend the innovative LavaRox™ Oral-Biotic and LavaRox™ Immuno-Biotic from AOR for clinically-tested probiotic supplements to support both oral and gut health. The best part? Their unique formulation means your kids will love taking them!
Gut health begins with oral hygiene as our mouths are often both the entry point and first line of defence in fighting infections. Good oral health habits start in childhood, but the increased use of antibiotics, harsh oral hygiene products, sugar, and processed food makes it hard for beneficial bacteria to survive in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. LavaRox™ Oral-Biotic is a sugar-free, naturally-flavoured probiotic designed to support children’s oral health and immune function. Using Streptococcus salvaris K12, a patented probiotic developed to support oral health, this supplement promotes growth of good oral bacteria, improves bad breath, and can help reduce ear, nose, and throat infections. The raspberry-flavoured granules dissolve with a fizzy sensation in the mouth, making them a fun and engaging part of your child’s morning routine.
Maintaining a healthy gut and bowel is important for digestive function, immune response, and as more research is showing, emotional health. We recommend LavaRox™ Immuno-Biotic, an oral probiotic formulated specifically for children that contains both Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. These two human strains of beneficial bacteria have been shown to promote a healthy microflora, inhibit overgrowth of harmful bacteria, and promote good immune health. They have also been shown to prevent colds and flu, and can help shorten the duration of symptoms. You can feel good about this sugar-free formulation containing no artificial flavours or colours while your kids will enjoy the cherry-flavoured fizzy sensation!
Vitamin D - Liquid sunshine!
The end of summer brings shorter, cooler days and more time spent indoors, especially for children who are returning to the classroom. With that comes less daily exposure to sunlight and a resulting drop in vitamin D levels. Sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is synthesized in our bodies when our skin absorbs UVB light from the sun, and can also be obtained naturally from some food sources. As many Canadians have an inadequate intake of vitamin D from food, and given our high latitude and long winters, vitamin D support is essential.
Vitamin D is required for absorbing calcium from food for healthy bone development in childhood, and is part of a robust immune system. A deficiency in this unique vitamin has been linked to various health conditions including rickets, osteoporosis, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), autoimmune disorders, and difficulty fighting infections. As vitamin D is critical to activating our immune defences, supplementing this vital nutrient can help keep illnesses at bay all year long.
In addition to a healthy diet that includes natural and fortified sources of vitamin D, you can ensure your child has adequate intake of this key nutrient with Vitamin D3 Liquid for kids from AOR. With a calibrated dropper for accuracy, it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus to support immune function. AOR sustainably sources this vegan and gluten-free supplement from lichen. Its neutral flavour makes it easy to add to any food or beverage. Make this addition while preparing food with your children as part of building healthy lifestyle habits together!
AOR’s Unique Advantage: Kid-Friendly and Fun!
Starting the school year off with a plan in place will go a long way in helping your whole family stay healthy and balanced. There are so many ways to develop a healthy living routine with your children, including preparing healthy meals together, spending time outdoors, and establishing nourishing family rhythms. AOR’s unique immune-boosting supplements are fun and engaging, making kids active and excited participants in their own health. Cheers to a healthy new school year!
Please note: Always consult a healthcare professional before starting supplements.
At AOR, our vision is to transform health through natural, personalized, and therapeutic care. We seek to catalyze change and challenge conventions through continuous innovation. For twenty-eight years, it has been our mission to transform scientific research into evidence-based, natural health products that empower people to lead their best lives.