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How to Best Overcome the Return to School and Kindergarten: Five Tips for Parents

Article

02. 09. 2019

Following the holidays, children find themselves back at kindergartens or behind their school desks. This time not only spells many responsibilities for the entire family, but also coincides with an increased occurrence of respiratory diseases. Canadian Medical doctors are currently registering an increase in the number of cases of tonsillitis, rhinitis and diarrhea. Do you know how to best deal with the onset of the school year?

 

Most common concerns faced by parents

Parents are generally most concerned about the adaptation of their child to a new environment when they first come to kindergarten or school or a change in the daily regime after returning back following two months of holidays. The next concern is often an increase likelihood of falling ill. This can be related to stress from a new environment or a higher concentration of viruses and bacteria that the child is subjected to. Parents have good reason to be afraid of their children getting ill.  

 

Why do children get ill during this period?

The child's immune system is still in its development phase. As a result, children are more sensitive when they come in contact with respiratory infections. Throughout this period, some children have insufficiently developed or weakened immune systems. As a result, they are more susceptible to viral infections, influenza or tonsillitis. When introduced to a group of other individuals, they may also suffer from catarrhs of the upper respiratory tract, bacterial infections of the upper respiratory tract, inflammations of the middle ear, laryngitis and bronchitis. Intestinal parasites (pinworms) can cause diarrhea and it is not uncommon to also encounter lice. 

 

Strengthen your child's immune system

How to best prepare your child for school/kindergarten and what do to avoid becoming sick?

Ensure that your child has appropriate and sufficient physical activity throughout the summer. Do not forget to ensure ample rest and sleep. A balanced diet is the key to establishing a strong immune system. You should also make sure you follow principles of good personal hygiene. The child should be subjected to a routine which includes physical activity, rest, sleep, eating and hygiene on a daily basis. Long periods of time spent in front of a computer screen are not suitable. 

 

What exactly makes up a balanced diet?

Your diet should include sufficient amounts of vitamins, fiber, trace elements, fruits and vegetables. Lower your intake of sugar because a large amount of sugar actually weakens the immune system. Also, make sure that your child drinks sufficient amounts of liquids. 

Following basic principles of personal hygiene which includes for example washing your hands after having used the toilet or using tissues when necessary is the basis for a well functioning immune system. On the other hand however, a child should not be subjected to a sterile environment either. You can also try hardening the child's body by subjecting them to a cooler environment. This is proven to be beneficial for the immune system. When trying this, always respect the child's age and health state. You can consult this particular approach with your pediatrician. How else can you protect your child? Consider immunization. FIu vaccinations are a good example to include as part of this.   

 

How to harden up and what to wear?

The child should be clothed adequately for the weather and should generally have one extra layer of clothing than adults. If it is raining or cooler and the child is sufficiently clothed, there is no need for the child to stay at home the entire day. Cool and fresh air has a positive impact on the immune system as well as the entire body. You can also harden up your child while bathing them. Several times each week, you can shower them in lukewarm water. The child can also sleep under cooler room temperature of 18 °C.

 

Attending first grade

Are you afraid that you child will not find friends among the new group of children? The adaptation period is actually very short. Children can find friends very quickly, because their behavior is very direct at this age. The teacher will immediately try to involve them all in a collective through various games. The transition from kindergarten to first grade is not such a sensitive issue for children as it is for their parents. Prior to attending school, it is best to begin a new regime from mid-August which involves getting up at regular times so that the child eats breakfast and gets used to getting ready for school. At the age of five, children already attend kindergartens and the new regime should therefore not pose a problem for them. However, it is good to begin two to three weeks early so that the children are ready following the holidays. 

 

Five key principles to strengthen your child's immune system:

  • Hardening up  – Children can be hardened up through for example using lukewarm showers.
  • Healthy diet  – The basics of a healthy diet are bound to a strong immune system and lower the risk of obesity and diabetes. 
  • Sufficient physical activity  – Regular physical activity is essential not just to strengthen the immune system, but also to avoid obesity. Rollerblading, cycling, skiing or cross-country skiing are good options to consider. 
  • Sufficient sleep  – A child should sleep eight to ten hours each day.  Lack of sleep will manifest itself through fatigue, general weakness, frequent illnesses and concentration disorders. 
  • Personal hygiene habits  – At kindergarten age, children should be accustomed to the basics of personal hygiene (washing their hands, using tissues when clearing their noses, taking showers, changing clothes, using the toilet etc.) 

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