How To Prepare Your Kids for a Healthy and Happy School Year 

 

An Interview with Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Niccole Edwins of Alpharetta Pediatrics

 

Our patients are always on the hunt for a pediatrician that will respect and support them in their holistic nutrition and lifestyle efforts, and we often refer them to Niccole Edwins, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Alpharetta Pediatrics. 

 

We love that in addition to her wealth of knowledge and experience treating children, Niccole is well-versed in children’s homeopathic remedies and natural supplements and recommends them often for her patients. 

 

As we head into back-to-school season, we sat down with Niccole to hear her advice for preparing kids’ immune systems for a healthy and happy school year. Enjoy this Q&A, and learn more about Alpharetta Pediatrics at AlpharettaPediatricsOnline.com

 

What are some ways to boost kids’ immune systems as they prepare to head back to school? 

 

I am a firm believer in good nutrition being the best medicine! Some of my favorite supplements are vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc, probiotics, elderberry and an omega supplement. I recommended discussing what regimen would be best for you with your health care practitioner. 

 

What are some ways to boost kids’ focus as they return to classroom learning? 

 

Get outside and play! Children need good sleep and for most children I recommended 10-12 hours of sleep at night. Ensure a well-balanced diet and keep  sugars and processed foods to a minimum. As long as parents are comfortable, I’m in favor of putting the masks away, especially during classroom settings to eliminate distractions. Reducing and keeping electronic stimulation to a minimum helps greatly. 

 

How can parents support kids’ mental and emotional health after the trying and disruptive pandemic year? 

 

Last year was tough for everyone! Keeping open communication, focusing on the positive, socializing and getting back into a routine can all help promote mental and emotional health. Children thrive on consistency, so trying to maintain a “schedule” to some extent is beneficial for them. I know I seem repetitive, but nutrition, physical activity and sleep also affect mental and emotional health.  Finding something your child really enjoys doing and encouraging that for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce stress levels. I recommend for parents to closely monitor for changes in behaviors (emotional, physical, mental, etc) and if changes are occurring, talk with your healthcare practitioner for further assistance. 

 

What are some tips for boosting kids’ nutrition and supporting their growing brains and bodies? 

 

Children are very impressionable. Therefore, it’s crucial for parents to set the example by eating a well balanced diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and incorporating good fats (avocado, nut butters, oils, salmon, flax and chia seeds) can boost growth and development. Vitamin D3, omegas and multivitamins are just a few I routinely discuss with families. 

 

Do you have any tips for parents of picky eaters? 

 

Constant re-exposure to foods is key. Getting creative with the presentation of food from how it is served, what it is served on, how it is cooked, etc. helps. Have the child help you in the kitchen. Cooking with your child is fun and they will end up taste testing along the way. Food pickiness can stem from a power struggle, so offering choices allows the child to feel like they are in control, while you get them to eat what you’d like.  For example, you can ask “what bowl would you like to eat from, the red bowl or the blue bowl?” Try not to get frustrated or discouraged, but instead make food fun.