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5 Back to School Health Tips
The last stretch of summer’s here, and that means the kids are going back to school. They’ll soon start learning again in the classroom (in many areas, virtually) and interacting with their classmates again.
As the school season approaches, it’s important to keep your child healthy. Here’s five back to school health tips to keep your child healthy this school year.
Teach them good Hygiene
One of the best ways to help your child stay healthy this year is by teaching them good hygiene habits. After all, a strong foundation for taking good care of your body begins at home.
You should start teaching your child back to school health hygiene by building a routine. Here’s a few ways you can encourage your child to stay fresh and clean.
Brushing their teeth
The American Dental Association recommends that children brush their teeth for two minutes a day, twice a day.1 You should strive to help your child reach this goal every day by encouraging them to brush once before school and once after dinner.
Whether you accomplish this task by singing a song or giving your child some kind of small reward for doing it every day of the week, motivating your child to brush will help them build a lifelong routine.
Teaching them to wash their hands
One of the best back to school health tips is teaching your child the importance of washing their hands. Tell them that washing with soap and water kills germs and prevents sickness.
Your child should learn to wash their hands:
- Before they eat
- After playing with toys
- After being outside
- After using the washroom
- After touching items around the house, a store, or classroom
You should also give your child a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep with them. This will help them quickly sanitize in case they don’t have time to stop in the bathroom.
Start Developing Healthy Eating Habits
One of the biggest challenges for every parent is teaching their children to eat healthy food. After all, some kids can be picky eaters while others might enjoy unhealthy snacks.
However, the food your child eats can have a long lasting impact on their health in the years to come. That means it’s your responsibility to start encouraging healthy eating as they continue to grow.
Here’s a few ways you can help your child eat healthier this school year.
Think about what you make for them for lunch
Pay attention to the food you’re making for your child’s lunch. What they eat today normalizes the ideas of what they should be consuming in the future. As you focus more on back to school health, you should carefully consider the options you’re providing your child.
Many “quick” items you buy at the store are filled with added sugars and preservatives that can have long lasting health risks such as weight gain or tooth decay.2 These items take only a minute to pull out, but they aren’t going to do your child any long-term health favors.
Spend time preparing a lunch that tastes delicious and isn’t filled with sugary treats. This will help keep your child healthy while building a proper diet.
Cook more at home
Another way to motivate your child to develop healthy eating habits this school year is by eating more at home. Everyone knows fast food is filled with fattening calories and low nutritional value.
Cooking at home teaches your child the importance of spending time preparing the food they eat. Show them how to make a few small, easy meals to help them develop good eating habits.
Not only is home cooked food healthier, but your child might be encouraged to start cooking. This skill can help keep them fit throughout their lifetime!
There’s a lot of benefits to eating healthy
Here’s a few other reasons why you should focus on teaching your kids healthy eating habits:
- They’ll feel energized. The healthier the food, the more motivation your child will have throughout the day. Mood and food is interconnected, and what your child eats will affect how they feel.3 Teach them that fresh fruits and veggies will keep them active during school and play time.
- Helps your child maintain weight. Your child’s weight today can have great effects on their health in the future. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links childhood obesity to conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and depression.4 As your child continues to grow, let them know how what they eat today can impact their health over a lifetime.
Take the time to start building good eating habits for your child. After all, healthy food tastes better in the long run!
Focus on Sleep
Another important back-to-school health tip is making sure your child gets enough of sleep. You should pay attention to how much your child stays up, and encourage them to build a routine of going to bed on time.
Here’s a few reasons getting sleep is crucial:
- Sleep impacts focus in the classroom, even if it’s virtual. When your child lacks sleep, they’re unable to fully place their attention on what’s going on. That means they’ll miss out on important points during lectures, which can potentially put them behind. If they’re learning virtually, you want them to have their full attention on the computer.
- Sleep impacts creativity. Did you know sleep is correlated with creativity and innovation?5 Sleep helps improve your child’s cognitive abilities and gives them the ability to problem-solve.
With this in mind, you’ll want to guide your child’s healthy lifestyle by starting them with good sleep habits.
Tips to encouraging good sleep habits
Sometimes, children are active and don’t want to immediately go to bed. Here’s some great back to school health tips to encourage your child to sleep:
- Set a definitive time as the expectation. The first step to encouraging your child to go to bed is by choosing what time they should turn the lights off. Pick the time and stick to it to build an expectation.
- Have a definitive wake-up time. One way to maintain your child’s sleep schedule is by waking them up at the same time every day. If they go to bed around the same time every day and wake up at a specific time, this allows you to monitor how many hours they sleep. Consistency will place their body into a routine and ensure they’re well rested.
- Turn off distractions. Your child’s sleep schedule could be impacted by items around the house, such as a television or video game system. Research shows screens can keep children up an extra thirty to sixty minutes.6 Turn off these electronics to help your child’s mind rest at bedtime.
As you focus on back to school health for your child, you’ll want to make sure you’re monitoring how tired or focused they are throughout the day. If your child appears to consistently be fatigued, tired, or stressed from a lack of sleep, consult a doctor on any sleep problems they might have.
Encourage Outdoor Activities After School
Another way to keep your child healthy this school year is by encouraging them to pursue fun, outdoor activities. Many children love playing outside and being active, and with virtual learning, they’re stuck inside all day long without recess.
Unfortunately, many school districts are cancelling sports and other fun extracurricular activities due to the pandemic. That means you’ll need to get creative as a parent to give your child the ability to still have fun outside.
Some ideas for fun, stay-at-home outdoor activities include:
- Going for a walk
- Riding a bike
- Swimming in the backyard
- Chalking on the sidewalk
- Playing with outdoor toys, such as remote control cars
- Playing outdoor games
- Hanging out in the treehouse
- Making shapes in the sandbox
- Hunting for bugs
- Exploring the woods
- Flying a Kite
Ask your child what kinds of toys or activities they’d like to do this school year. This will help them when they need a break after finishing their classes for the day!
Visit the Doctor’s Office
Now that it’s back to school time, your child should see the doctor again. You don’t want to miss this checkup because it’s crucial your child gets the necessary tests they need to keep themselves healthy.
One of the most important parts of having your child see their doctor is ensuring that they have your state’s required immunizations. Vaccines keep your kid healthy and prevent them from getting sick.
You should check your local and state guidelines to know what vaccines your child will need for their grade level. Make sure you keep track of your child’s vaccination records, and always ask your child’s doctor if you have any questions.
What do checkups include?
- Developmental Screening
- Vision/Hearing check
- Head to toe examination
- Blood pressure check
- Health education
These checks ensure your child’s developing at a healthy rate, and if they have any medical problems, you can tackle them early on.
Encourage your child to be comfortable
Going to the doctor can be intimidating for some children, so you’ll want to sit down and explain the importance of seeing one to your child. Teach them the doctor will keep them healthy, and that they’ll be thankful to keep sickness away.
If your child is unsure, tell them that you’ll be there every step. Instill trust by holding their hand on the way in, and reward them for doing a good job afterwards.
The Importance of Back To School Health
We know it’s never easy being a parent, but starting your child on a healthy lifestyle will help them grow into dynamic, well-adjusted adults.
Saber Healthcare Encourages Healthy Living!
Here at Saber Healthcare, we know how important it is to maintain your health, no matter what stage of life you’re in. That’s why we take a personalized approach when it comes to treating our patients at our facilities.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “7 ways to make Brushing Fun for Your Kids.” The American Dental Association, mouthhealthy.org. Accessed August 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Added sugars: Don't get sabotaged by sweeteners.” Mayo Clinic, mayoclinic.org. Accessed August 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/
- “How Healthy Food Affects the Brain. Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. Accessed August 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-healthy-food-affects-the-brain
- “Childhood Obesity Causes & Consequences.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov. Accessed August 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.cdc.gov.
- The National Sleep Foundation. “How Lack of Sleep Impacts Cognitive Performance and Focus.” The National Sleep Foundation, sleepfoundation.org. July 28, 2020. Accessed August 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.sleepfoundation.org
- Robinson, Dana. “Ten Tips to Get Your Kids to Sleep.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. June 5th, 2020. Accessed August 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health
- “How Often Should My Child Get a Routine Checkup?” S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, scdhec.gov. Accessed August 14th, 2020. Link: https://www.scdhec.gov/health