That’s right — it’s that time of year again. No matter the age, going back to school can be overwhelming and stressful. And exposure to a slew of new germs and bugs can wreak havoc on everybody’s health. Try these simple tips to help keep kids – and the entire family -- healthy during this transition:
1-min tip: Limit screen time. Sleep schedules may change quite a bit from what your children were used to in the summer, and they will most likely need to wake up earlier as well as go to bed earlier to accommodate this. It’s common knowledge these days that staring at a screen — TV, computer, or phone — can make it hard to fall asleep and also affect the quality of sleep negatively. Have a plan in place to scale back screen use at least one hour before bed time.
5-min tip: Make sure backpacks aren’t overloaded. If your child has a heavy load of books, make sure they have a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps as well as a padded back. Try to pack as light as possible, with the heaviest items closest to the center of the back — and be sure that they use both straps, reducing risk for strained muscles.
15-min tip: Don’t forget breakfast. Mornings can be hectic, but it’s imperative that children get a square meal before they head off to school. Hunger can affect children’s ability to concentrate, learn, and socialize. While it might seem easy to throw an iced pastry into the toaster, a breakfast built around whole foods, protein and healthy fats is best. Plan breakfasts ahead of time or even pre-make something on the weekend that can be eaten throughout the week.
30-min tip: Get an annual physical. Children need physicals every year, including up-to-date immunizations and flu shots. This ensures their health and immunity to serious diseases throughout the year and while they’re in contact with other children. This is also a great time to visit the dentist and the eye doctor — especially since poor vision can go unnoticed and can have a tremendous impact on a child’s learning ability.
This article first appeared in the September 2017 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.