Each new school year brings a plethora of new and exciting things to prepare for. While students are most concerned with new teachers and friends, parents have a lot to consider when thinking about the well-being of their child: allergies, germs, what the cafeteria is serving, if they are getting enough sleep; the list goes on. Here we have outlined a few tips to help keep your child healthy and happy this school year.
What’s For Lunch?
What our kids eat and drink can have extraordinary effects on their growth, development, and overall mood and energy throughout the day. We all know kids can be picky eaters, so it is important to not only talk to your kids about eating well, but also to lead by example with nutritious food at home. If your children purchase lunch in the cafeteria, keep a copy of the menu at home and talk to your kids about the importance of a balanced diet. For those who prefer to pack a lunch, get your child involved in the process. Let them help with the grocery shopping and guide them towards a healthy balance of nutritious items that they actually enjoy.
At home, try to get in the habit of choosing healthier snacks and meal options. Replace chips with other foods like crackers, carrots, and string cheese. You can also substitute fruit, yogurt, or granola in place of cookies and packaged cake-type treats. Children often develop eating habits that are very similar to what they learn from their parents and setting the example at home can guide those eating habits in the healthy direction.
It’s Time for Bed
According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages six to thirteen need 9-11 hours of sleep each night. Getting this recommended amount of sleep can often be difficult with all of the
homework and extra-curricular activities school-aged children tend to participate in, but there are a few good strategies to making it work. One of the most important factors to ensuring proper sleep for kids is to choose a consistent bedtime and develop a nightly routine that is comforting and relaxing for your child. A common routine might include a light snack, brushing their teeth, and reading a story before saying goodnight. Try to limit TV or computer usage right before bed as this can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep.
This May Pinch a Little
At any given moment, there is a good chance that someone in the classroom has the sniffles. Kids spread germs, and that’s just the way it is. Making sure your child has received all of the proper immunizations is not only crucial to your own child’s health but also to the health of their classmates. You should check with your school to determine what immunizations are recommended and which are required by the state.
September marks not only the beginning of a new school year, but also the beginning of a new allergy season. Older school buildings may trigger indoor allergies from dust and mold, while the transition into autumn can be difficult for those dealing with outdoor allergies. Ensure your child has the proper supplies to combat their allergies by stocking up on tissues, hand sanitizer, and reminding them to be cognizant of covering their mouth when a cough or sneeze is inevitable. Also, be sure to provide things like allergy medications, inhalers, and epi-pens for the school nurse in the event that your child has a flare up.
Buckle Your Seatbelt
Whether your kids walk, ride, or bike to school, be sure to address any safety measures with them. If carpooling, talk to your children about the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Similarly, if riding the bus, be sure your children know to stay seated and to be respectful of the driver by not yelling or throwing things. If walking to school, map out a specific route for your child to walk to and from school. Discuss the importance of crossing at cross walks and not taking rides from anyone they do not know. Bike safety is also extremely important if you live close enough for your child to ride their bike to school. Require them to wear a helmet at all times. Allowing your child to pick out their helmet can be a good way to increase the probability that they will wear it when you are not around.
Keeping your kids healthy can be one of the most challenging jobs on the planet. At Physicians Immediate Care, we aim to make this job a bit easier by offering affordable options for things like immunizations, flu shots, and yearly physicals.