September is rolling upon us which means it's time to switch our thoughts away from the summer holiday and get ready for back to school! New environments, change in sleep schedule or stress can all negatively impact your child's immune system and leave them more susceptible to picking up the dreaded back to school cold or cough!

We’ve put together our list of back-to-school tips and supplements to help keep your child happy and healthy throughout September and into winter.

A new school, routine or activities can leave your child feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Stress can negatively impact their immune system and leave them susceptible to picking up bacteria and viruses. Whilst you might not be able to get your child to do a 30-minute yoga session with you, try and find activities that they enjoy which help them unwind and relax like walking the dog, playing in the garden or reading a book. Herbs which have a calming effect can also help like chamomile or lemon balm.

Lack of sleep can also have a negative impact on your child's immune system so it's important to try and establish a sleep routine. Avoid blue light products like TV, tablets and smartphones before going to bed as this can disrupt the natural production of melatonin which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Try and establish and sleep routine like a warm bath, a glass of milk, reading a book or sleep spray to help them unwind and prepare for bed.

Your child's gut is home to 70% of their immune system, keeping their gut happy and healthy is therefore essential to keeping them well. One way you can support their gut is through friendly bacteria. These friendly bacteria can either be found in foods like live yogurt and kefir, through supplements or in nature (playing in the mud is good!). Ensuring your child is getting plenty of prebiotics like onions, garlic, green bananas and legumes can help feed these friendly bacteria and help them thrive!

There are several important nutrients that can help keep your child well throughout winter. Some of our highlights are –

Vitamin C – an antioxidant that can help support the immune system by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. Foods rich in vitamin C include berries, red peppers and broccoli. Try and challenge your family to see how many colours you can add to each meal!

Zinc – zinc is an important nutrient which can help viruses from replicating. It can be found in cacao powder, seeds and eggs.

Vitamin D – during summer we can (mostly!) get all the vitamin D from the sunlight, however as we enter the autumn and winter months we are unable to make vitamin D from the sunlight and dietary sources are low. Therefore the NHS recommends that all children have 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

Elderberry – elderberry is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that can help support the immune system. Try giving your child a spoonful of elderberry each morning during winter + it tastes delicious!

Omega-3 – this can have an anti-inflammatory effect in the gut. Our body cannot make omega-3 so it needs to be consumed through our diet. One of the best sources is oily fish like salmon mackerel and anchovies. It can also be found in vegan sources including walnut, algal oil, chia seeds and flax seeds. It can also be taken as a supplement.

When it comes to supporting your kid's immune system, it is important to get support from their diet, lifestyle and sleep as they all play a role in keeping them well. Whilst the list above might feel overwhelming, small changes can make a big difference to their immune system and keep them well over winter.