As the weather turns cooler and children head back to school, we want to help your kids stay healthy. We’ve compiled a list of back to school health tips to ensure your children have smooth transitions back to school.
Eating Wholesome Meals
It has been proven that children who eat regular meals do better in school. Eating improves concentration and memory retention and gives children higher levels of energy during the day.
- The old adage, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” couldn’t be truer. Starting the morning with a healthy meal gives children a jumpstart on their day. If your school does not offer breakfast, be sure to give your children a wholesome morning meal at home.
- Although unhealthy snacks might be “convenient,” try packing your child healthy meals that will benefit his growing body and mind. Instead of sugary drinks, offer water or milk. Instead of chips or candy, provide fresh fruit and vegetables. Check your child’s cafeteria and school vending machines to be sure they are meeting nutrition standards.
- If you pack your child’s lunch, follow nutrition guidelines. If not, monitor your school’s cafeteria schedule. Knowing the schedule will help you be aware of the food your child is consuming. And if there is a menu she doesn’t like, you can plan ahead and pack her a meal.
Create a Sleep Routine
A sleep routine is one of the most powerful tools for doing well in school. Sleep empowers children to succeed by helping them focus and building memory skills. Inadequate sleep leads to low academic performance and a higher chance of being absent from school.
- Establish a regular bedtime. Building a peaceful evening routine will help children wind down. Examples of a bedtime routine include taking a bath, reading books, and singing lullabies. Having the same routine each night will help children know when it’s time for bed and will provide better sleep.
- Eliminate screen time before bed by turning off electronics in the evening.
- Young children should be sleeping 10-12 hours per night. Teenagers need eight to 10 hours of sleep each night.
- Do not overcrowd your child’s backpack. Put the heaviest items in the center of the backpack. We recommend sorting through your child’s backpack weekly to remove items that no longer need to be included.
- Be sure the packed backpack never weighs more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
- When purchasing a backpack, choose one with a cushioned back and broad, padded straps. The bottom of the backpack should sit at your child’s waist.
- Always use both shoulder straps. Using only one strap can cause neck and shoulder discomfort.
Healthy Study Habits
- Build an after-school routine. Create a distraction-free space for your child to work on homework and school assignments. Keep electronics turned off during this time.
- Encourage your child to take breaks. Play and exercise are important for children too. Monitor your child as she works on her homework. If you notice signs of bodily fatigue or brain fog, encourage her to step outside to refresh herself.
- As your child works on homework, be available to answer questions or help work through assignments, but do not do your child’s homework for her.
- Some children need extra assistance in structuring their homework schedule. Help your child create a schedule to monitor assignments, remember deadlines, and finish projects.
- If your child needs extra help in a particular subject, talk with your child’s teacher on ways to provide additional assistance. Consider hiring a tutor.