By: Yvonne Sims
It’s that time of year again: back to school for your kids! With all the school shopping and preparing for the school year, you also want to make sure that you are keeping your children’s health in check as well. That means making sure they are getting proper rest, plenty of exercise, practicing good hygiene, and consuming healthy foods. Here are a few back-to-school tips that will ensure that your kids are heading back to their optimal health.
- Plenty of Quality Sleep. Children, ages 6 to 12 should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night and teens should get 8 to 10 hours a night. Be sure that they are powering down electronic devices and stop watching tv 2 hours before going to bed. Caffeine should not be given to them in the afternoon, so they are not stimulated before bed. It is also helpful to make their room as dark as possible with dimming or blackout curtains and be sure their rooms are nice and cool.
- Exercise/Physical Activity. Children are not getting enough exercise in school anymore, so be sure they have at least an hour of exercise or physical activity outside each day. This will promote healthier minds and bodies because they are getting fresh air and sun as well as spending less time in front of the tv or on their electronic devices indoors.
- Good Hygiene. There are a lot of germs all around us, especially in our kids’ schools. Make sure they are properly and consistently washing their hands whenever they need to. This will help prevent illness and the spread of more germs. It is also helpful to pack hand sanitizer, wet wipes and Kleenex in their backpacks in case they are unable to wash their hands.
- Healthy Foods. When making snacks or lunch for your children, be sure to pack healthier foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and lean meats. Also, minimize the number of processed foods and sweets you give them. This will give them more energy throughout the day, decrease obesity, and promote a healthier mind and body.
- Eliminate Food/Environmental Intolerances. To be sure you are giving your children the right foods for them and not exposing them to a harmful environment, you can get a Food and Environmental Intolerance Test done for them at 5Strands® Affordable Testing. Here’s the link if you would like to purchase it: https://www.affordableallergytest.com/product/deluxe-package-children/
Their results will be specifically catered to them since we use the DNA from your child’s hair sample. It is painless, affordable, and the results are sent in about 5 to 7 business days!
6. Make sure Backpacks Fit Well. Be sure your child has a backpack that fits their body well. If it does not fit well, it can cause neck, shoulder, and back problems that can affect their posture. Make sure their backpacks have padded straps and that they utilize both straps, especially if they are carrying a heavy load.
7. Engage in Real Conversations. Being in school can be very stressful and unfortunately, suicide rates are rising in teens and even young children; bullying is real! Make sure you are paying attention to your children’s behaviors and engage in real, meaningful conversations. Do not accept that they are just “fine” when they are showing odd behaviors and try to form a bond or nonjudgmental space where they can openly express their feelings.
Practicing these health tips with your children will not only ensure your kids are healthier but it will also limit the times they miss school because they’re sick as well as save you money on doctors’ visits. Also, when your kids see you consistently practicing these tips, they are more likely to be more consistent as well. So, make sure you are sending your children back to school as prepared and as healthy as possible!
4 Back to School Health Tips You Need to Know. (2019). Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.immediateclinic.com/blog/4-back-school-health-tips-you-need-know
5 Must-Know Back-to-School Health Tips: Checklist for Parents. Kaiser Permanente Washington. (2018, October 30). Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://wa-health.kaiserpermanente.org/back-to-school-health-tips/