Back To School Health

Back to school health starts with getting everyone back on the school schedule for sleeping, waking and meals. It’s insuring that all immunizations are all up-to-date and if physicals are necessary, they’re completed. It means the active times of summer are finished and it’s time to sit focused in the classroom. Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home one, it can all add up to extra work and planning to insure the good health of all family members, including parents.

Planning is important.

Insuring adequate sleep and good nutrition is of primary importance. The first comes with adjusting sleep schedules. About two weeks before school starts, it’s time to start setting bedtime earlier by increments for everyone whose schedule is changing. If going to school means rising two hours earlier, adjusting bedtime a half hour every three or four days and getting up earlier will help reset the internal clock. Stick with the same schedule on weekends, just as you should throughout the year. It helps stabilize the Circadian rhythm.

Check the school lunch program.

Even though there are many changes to make school lunches healthier, it’s hard to standardize requirements when one child may be the perfect weight at 70 pounds, while another is just right at 120. Each one requiring a different amount of nutrients and calories. Some programs use prepackaged foods with lots of processing and additives. You can check the menu and supplement with nutritious snacks for mid morning and have snacks ready in the refrigerator for after school.

Make sure the kids get physical.

Going from an active summer lifestyle to all day in the classroom decreases the amount of exercise each week. Create activities for the family on weekends that increase the time, whether it’s going for a walk, riding bikes together or shooting hoops in the driveway. Check for after school activities to help burn off the pent up energy and stress from the school day. It might not seem like it, but school can be stressful no matter what the child’s age. Create a chore list that requires physical exertion on the child’s part, whether raking the lawn or sweeping the floors, every little bit counts.

– Get the kids to help you make snacks and meals. It helps them learn how to choose food wisely, encourages healthy eating and can be fun.

– Get up earlier in the morning and walk your children to school, if possible. Both you and your kids will benefit from the extra exercise. It helps boost the brain power for the day.

– Limit online and TV time. Computer games may be fun, but they aren’t developing a healthier child.

– Reinforce the rules of healthy hygiene, such as emphasizing washing hands after using the bathroom.

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