Keep your kids healthy during this back-to-school season
Are your kids ready for the new school year? Aside from all of their supplies, clothes, books, and other school essentials, there’s one thing that most parents often overlook when those back-to-school blues hit: their health.
It’s easy to lose sight of our children’s wellness when we’re juggling so many responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean it should take a backseat to everything else that we need to do. Here’s a list of back to school wellness tips that you can try with your kids to keep them healthy and prepped for the new academic year.
1. Establish a healthy sleeping routine.
Now that summer break is coming to a close, it’s time to repair those bad sleeping habits your kids developed after months of binge-watching their favorite shows and movies.
A few weeks before the school year starts, reprogram their sleeping schedules by putting a cap on gadget use and implementing a lights-out schedule. They might not like it to start, but as they ease into their routine, it will help them be more prepared for those early school days.
2. Get them on a hydration quota.
Schoolwork, play, and lots of time with their friends can make it easy for your kids to forget to stay hydrated. But with their little bodies and brains running at full capacity throughout the school day, they’ll need that precious water more than ever.
Pack your kids their own water canteens, and make sure you remind them to take a drink at specific times throughout the day, even when they don’t feel thirsty. It should keep them feeling energetic and healthy throughout their day.
3. Practice proper handwashing.
Schools full of kids from different homes and communities can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. If your kids aren’t careful, they could bring something home and compromise the health of your whole family.
Before school starts, take some time out of your day to teach them proper handwashing techniques. Tell them when to wash their hands, and pack them some hand soap and sanitizer so they can clean their hands whenever they can.
4. Strengthen their mental wellness.
Reinforcing what they learned at school by encouraging them to reread some of what they discussed in class can be highly beneficial for their cognitive and mental well-being.
Set up a small homework nook at home to motivate them to study, and sit down with them for a few hours a night to help them out with homework and guide them on any lessons they might be struggling with. Of course, it’s an added bonus that they get to spend time with you as well, which is great for their emotional wellness.
5. Make healthy snacks enjoyable.
It’s always easier to throw a Pop-Tart into your kid’s bag just to be done with meal prep, but loading them up with sugar could be detrimental to their health and academic performance. So try to get them to enjoy a few healthy snacks in their lunch bag by being mindful with their food choices.
Pack some fresh veggies, whole grains, and real fruit juice. It shouldn’t take a lot of time, and it will give your kids the nutrition they need to keep them healthy and energized to tackle the day.
6. Support proper dental care practices.
Dental caries occur in most kids, with school-aged kids having at least 1 1/2 decayed teeth. More often than not, these are caused by poor oral care practices that can leave food sitting on the enamel, causing it to decay over time.
Our kids spend a lot of time in school, leaving a wide gap between their morning brush and their evening one. So to make sure their teeth aren’t left with food debris and sugar while they’re at school, pack them a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste that they can use after lunch.
7. Make time for family activities.
Strong relationships between family members have a significant impact on overall wellness. But because school and work can limit the amount of time you get to spend with your kids, it’s important to make time for family activities by figuring out a schedule that works for you.
Make it a point to eat dinner together, have a gadget-free conversation once you all get home, or designate a sleepover night each week, so you can make up for all the days you might not have been able to spend quality time.
8. Double-check their backpacks.
According to research, students shouldn’t carry more than 10% of their body weight on their backs. Poor weight distribution, excessive weight, and insufficient padding can cause pain and back problems, even in the youngest of kids.
If you find that your child is carrying more than they should, buy an ergonomic backpack and teach them a few skills on proper packing to evenly distribute the weight. Encourage them to leave as much of their stuff in their locker so they won’t have to carry so much back and forth to school.
9. Give them structure.
Research has found that children with structured daily schedules are more productive, happy, and well-rounded than kids who go about their day without a semblance of a routine.
Help your kids become their best selves by adding structure to their day. Follow time tables, get them involved in after-school activities, sports, and clubs, give them responsibilities around the house, and be involved in their day-to-day activities. It will do wonders for their health and wellness.