Healthy Family

Back to School 101: How to Stay Healthy in the Fall

“Back to School” means a time of transitions: Sleep cycles, mealtimes and activity levels all change significantly.  Even if your children have graduated to homes and careers of their own, chances are good that you still need to adjust from the (relatively) carefree days of summer to the darkening days of autumn. With that in mind, here are five important preventive care strategies to help you and your loved ones make it through the school year in great health.


Apple-256261_12801. Get Enough Sleep     

Bedtimes tend to drift during the summer months... the sun sets later and it’s hard to get the kids inside when there are so many fun things to do! Still, with school starting up, sleep becomes an important part of every family’s wellness strategy.    

Sleep requirements vary according to age and even then every child is different: A good ballpark number for your kindergartener or first grader is 10 ¾ to 12 hours of sleep per day; your 7-to-12-year-old will probably be at their best with 10 to 11 hours of sleep per day; and even your high school student might need up to 9 ½ .1   

As for Mom and Dad? We still need to get as close to 8 hours per night as possible. I will gently suggest that once you've settled your kids down for the night, grab your own pajamas and hit the hay. I am frequently in bed before my teenagers and I like it that way.   

2. Continue to Get Out in the Sun    

School means trading long days in the great outdoors for six hours or more sitting at a desk in a hermetically sealed germ factory. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. I hope. Still, our children do give up some serious sun time when school starts. If we are not vigilant, this means they start to miss out on their daily dose of the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D.     

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3 Great Ways to Be Nice to Your Neck

Self-care will always be an important part of your conscious parenting toolkit. Here are some of the ways that I keep myself healthy, so that I have what I need to raise healthy kids.

I love my children, really I do. Being a parent is the absolute, most wondrous thing that I have ever experienced. Still... every now and then... my little darlings can be a real pain in the neck.

And I'm not speaking figuratively. Adolescence has blown right past the "terrible two's" when it comes to cringe-inducing, brain-frying, jaw-clenching behavior. Some days I can actually feel the muscles in my neck tightening up. Then my right eye starts to twitch. Soon, my head is pounding.

Just another day of parenting pre-teens.

Of course, I can't blame it all on my kids. There is also my laptop, which I spend too many hours hunched over, typing away my life stories (or compulsively playing Freecell.) And then there are those forty-pound bags of salt, which I need to purchase and carry regularly to feed the voracious appetite of the water softening system in our basement.

There is much in life to strain, tighten and generally abuse our poor neck muscles. Fortunately, with a little extra attention, we can give them the care they need to stay strong and healthy. Here are three great ways to be nice to your neck:

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Mom's Guide to a Good Night's Sleep

Conscious parenting means bringing our very best to the job of raising our children. We cannot do this when we are chronically sleep-deprived. And our children aren't faring much better...

Is anyone getting enough quality sleep these days? The kids stay up too late doing homework, watching TV or texting with friends. Parents are wiped out from work and family duties, but too wired to sleep peacefully. Even the cats are chasing each other around the house at midnight.

What's an overtired, cranky and bleary-eyed mom to do?

1. Do a bedroom check for each member of the family. Are your sleep spaces conducive to a good night's snooze? Make sure none of the rooms are too hot or too cold; too dry or too humid; too noisy or too quiet. Does one room get too much light or noise from the street outside? Is the room farthest from the thermostat always freezing? Does someone need a humidifier to sleep comfortably?

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How to Make Your Family Flu-Resistant

Just when you thought cold and flu season was over...


Two Christmases ago, we were unhappy participants in the rampaging outbreak of Norovirus. My older son picked it up in Orlando, presumably among the masses at Disney World. As he proceeded to “share” it with me, his brother, my parents and a couple cousins, we spent a lot of time talking about germs and how to avoid them.

When we weren’t vomiting.

With today’s headlines focused on swine flu and a possible pandemic, it feels like the right time to re-visit the subject. Here are our Top 7 Tips for Making Your Family Flu-Resistant.

1. Set an Intention. Expect to be strong and healthy. Live like you are strong and healthy. Write an affirmation for yourself and your family and use it. Something like, “We are always healthy, strong and safe. We spread good health and happiness everywhere we go. We are always surrounded by healthy, happy people.”

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