5 Natural Ways to Avoid Back-to-School Sicknesses

I hate to even say it for fear of ruining everything, but my goodness – we’ve made it all the way through September and the first week of October without getting the dreaded back-to-school sickness. {Thank goodness!}  Several of Miss G’s friends have already fallen victim to the beginning of the year bug and I’m fairly certain that by this time last year, Miss G had been home sick twice {ugh}.  Well, lesson learned.  I’m smarter now.  And this year I’m being much more proactive about helping Miss G {and the rest of our family} stay happy and healthy this fall.

Here are 5 natural ways to avoid back-to-school sicknesses that we’ve been using on the regular…

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 1.  Handwashing

This one is huge for us and something that was solidly cemented in our day-to-day routines when our little preemie babe arrived early last November.  In those early days we made sure hand washing was extra enticing with homemade squishy soapsoapy funfetti scrub, and a foaming dispenser {and sometimes a drop of food colouring too}, but now it’s just what we do.  We walk into the house, we wash our hands.  We go to eat a meal, we wash our hands.  We do any sort of food prep, we wash our hands.  You get the picture. Super easy and one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs.  Done.

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2.  Healthful meals {with loads of veggies and garlic!}

They say that a healthy immune system starts in the gut and eating a diet full of real foods {nutrient-rich veggies, whole grains, fermented foods, and essential fatty acids} is a great place to start.  Thankfully both Sam and Grae are great eaters, but I almost always up our veggie game by pureeing things Miss G isn’t particularly fond of {cooked zucchini, onion, celery, and squash – basically anything that has the potential to become ‘slimy’ when cooked} into our soups, sauces, and stews which not only ups the nutrient level, but the flavour level too {yay}.  We also do our best to avoid processed sugars and white flours which apparently suppress your immune system.

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3.  Veggie-packed smoothies and juices 

Green smoothies for the win!  While there was a point in time where Miss G and I started each and every day with a nutrient-packed green smoothie, over time, she lost interest and I began finding barely touched mason jars of smoothie around our house, so I stopped making them.  Well with a fresh school year starting, I figured we’d get back on the smoothie train and began making them as part of our breakfasts.  Welp, the plan was a fail.  Between her morning snack box and the other breakfast that was already on the table, she already had tons of food and the green smoothie just wasn’t at the top of the priority list.  So I decided to switch things up.  Instead of starting the school day with a smoothie, I tried ending the school day with a smoothie…  And you know what?  My plan was a total hit.  In fact, one day I turned up to school pick-up without a green smoothie in hand, and G said, ‘Can you start bringing bringing me smoothies to school again tomorrow?’  So now, each day just before pick-up I whip up our very favourite Jugo Juice knock-off and hand it to her as we’re walking out of the school.  At the end of the day she’s both starving and thirsty, so by the time we’ve walked to the car, the entire thing is gone. Win!

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Here’s our loose ‘recipe’…
{It’s so sweet and fruity that I think even kiddos who usually avoid green foods will enjoy it.}

Miss G’s Favourite Fruity Green Smoothie (made in a personal size blender)

– one really big handful of spinach or kale {I cram and jam this down into the blender so I can fit more in}

– several big chunks of frozen pineapple

– a few big chunks of frozen mango

– a scoop of chia seeds {optional but great for added nutrition}

– a big pour of our favourite orchard apple juice or Happy Planet’s new Daily Squeeze fruit + veg juice {I usually use Miss G’s favourite – the green one – but the orange one is delicious in this recipe too}

– cold water {just enough to cover 3/4 of the fruit and greens in liquid}

Blend really well and serve immediately.

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4.   Lots of sleep

Alright, admittedly, this is not my strong suit, but when it comes to my kids, I make sleep a priority for many reasons – keeping their little immune systems strong being one of them.  Both Grae and Sam are early-to-bed kiddos, which means that they get plenty of rest and I’m not having to interrupt their sleep in order to get our days going in the mornings.  As of now, our little Sam is usually in bed around 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. and Miss G is in bed by 7:00 p.m. and though early bedtimes mean that we often have to turn down evening events with friends, at this stage of our lives, having well-rested kiddos is more important.

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5.  Theives oil

Ahhh…  My secret weapon!  While I’ve used essential oils for years and years, thieves blend is something I only started using last year when Sam was in the NICU and I absolutely swear by it now.  Theives is powerful combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils that is known for its immune supporting and air purification abilities, and it’s what I absolutely relied on when pumping around the clock and bouncing back and forth between home and NICU last winter. Because here’s the thing – you’re not allowed in the NICU if you’re sick, and if you’re not allowed into the NICU, you’re not allowed to see your baby {which is pretty much any new parent’s nightmare}.  Now first off, I will say that essential oils can be extremely dangerous if not used with caution and many of them, thieves included, are not recommended for use on babies and small children.  Therefore, making sure you educate yourself on safe EO use is essential – please, please, please don’t just go and buy a bunch and start using them willy nilly. That being said, here’s how I feel comfortable using thieves in my home, around my children, and on myself… First off, I do diffuse a very small amount of thieves paired with sweet orange in our house {but not in Sam’s nursery and not usually in the room he’s in}.  It helps keep airborne germs at bay and it smells absolutely delicious, which I love. I also do apply a diluted concentration to the soles of Miss G’s feet when I hear the first bit of a sniffle – usually right before bed or right before she puts her socks on in the morning.  On myself, I either use the bottom of the foot method, or if I wake up in the morning with a scratchy throat and the beginning signs of a cold, I usually massage a drop into the back of my neck just below my hairline.  I know it’s probably hard to believe if you’re not an essential oil person, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up thinking, ‘Crap, I’m definitely getting sick this time’, got the thieves out immediately, and felt absolutely fine by the time I arrived home from school drop-off {*knock on wood this continues*}. It’s like my personal lifesaver in a teeny bottle. :)

Well, there you have it.  Our go-to ways to avoid back-to-school sicknesses…  Here’s to staying healthy all fall and winter long!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Happy Planet, however, all ideas and opinions are my own {of course!}

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15 thoughts on “5 Natural Ways to Avoid Back-to-School Sicknesses

  1. Absolutely agree about sleep, the same at our house even it is not popular and other friends are going out, visiting each other, we still choose good kids sleep especially before school. I usually use lavender essential oil, but will try your suggested theives oil. Do you buy it at the same shop or online?

  2. Hi, I am new to essential oils. What do you dilute it with? Also, I was curious about the name (Thieves) and found this explanation online: “Thieves was created based on research about four thieves in France who protected themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims”. Thanks!

    1. It has quite a history, doesn’t it? When applying to skin, I dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut, sweet almond, or avocado. In a diffuser I just use a couple of drops of oil with lots of water. :)

  3. Thank you for this post! Do you have any advice besides the above on staying healthy while traveling? We will fly to Europe in December with our kids and I would love for all to stay healthy for this family visit! Airplanes and germs, different climate, I would love to hear if you have any advice from all your experience! Also, when you dilute the oil for your daughter, what ratio do you use?

    1. Hey Talitha! Loads of hand washing during flights, train travel, metros, and outings, plus I always carry ‘Pure’ from Back to Earth Enviro Products. It’s a natural hand sanitizer that is fabulous, and though I always prefer to wash hands if we can, we do use it regularly while travelling. But other than that, nothing else really. We always just do our best and hope for the best because getting sick while travelling is awful. {Side note: Miss G got terribly lethargic while having lunch in the gardens in front of the Eiffel Tower and ended up throwing up all over the place on the metro home during our last visit to Paris. I was covered in puke, I was concealing loads of it in the hood of her puffy vest, and we were an absolute disaster is what I’m saying.} Best of luck on your trip!!

      As for the ratio I use, it’s hard to say. I just do a scrape along my pinky fingernail of coconut oil with 1 drop of Thieves and then rub it into the bottoms of her feet. :)

  4. I have started reading about diffusers and I am wondering if you have a recommendation? Thanks

  5. Hi Jen,
    I would love to have your recipe for the stir-fry with all the veggies and tons of garlic! It looks so delish! Do you do any sort of hot or warm drink? I love lemon, ginger and raw honey tea hot or cold. Thanks for all the great tips!

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