After summer months of staying up late, zoning out in front of the television, playing countless video games, running wild outside, and snacking throughout the day; most kids are in for a big adjustment as they head back to school.
As we welcome the month of August and the shopping adventures for new school supplies and wardrobes begin, remember to take steps to safeguard their health and safety in the classroom, on the playground, and on the practice field.
You can help make a real difference in both their health and academic success this school year with a few simple tips.
8 Tips for a Healthy & Successful School Year
- Update your child’s emergency health record- including medical conditions, medication dosages, allergies and emergency contacts and ensure the school is aware of all pertinent medical information.
- Ensure they have a back-up medical ID- remind them of the importance of wearing their MedicAlert ID at all times and have a replacement handy for standby.
- Start your child on a consistent sleep schedule- During the summer, we tend to be more lenient with our children’s normal bedtimes which is fine they can sleep later in the morning. However, when school starts so do the early morning wake-up times. To be safe, get your child on their school sleep schedule 1-2 weeks before schools starts, allowing for 8-10 hours of sleep every night.
- Plan wholesome lunches and snacks- get in the habit of packing more fresh fruits and raw veggies in their lunches rather than chips and other empty-calorie snacks. Yogurts, cheeses and granola bars are always a healthy option as well. Include them in your grocery shopping trips so they can be a part of picking out healthier snacks. Splurging on a new lunch container of their choice can help them get excited about packing lunches as well.
- Start school days off right- Ideally, eating breakfast as a family is a perfect time to bond and spend quality time together while also preparing a healthy breakfast for the kids, but in reality, we know how rushed and hectic weekday mornings can be. If your family cannot enjoy a sit-down breakfast together before heading to work and school, prepare simple and quick on-the-go breakfasts the night before. Eggs with whole grain toast, fruit and yogurt, or whole grain unsweetened cereal with milk and berries are several great choices
- Schedule their sports physical- most schools require a physical before your athlete can participate in a sport. Ensure you have plenty of time to schedule your teen’s sports physical to avoid missing a deadline that may prevent them from trying out or joining the team. It’s also important to ensure their overall health is up to par before competing.
- Ensure required vaccinations are up-to-date- some states may require certain doctor-recommended immunizations prior to enrollment or before allowing your child to participate in a school sponsored sport.
- Encourage backpack safety- Backpacks full of books and school supplies can put strain on your child's neck, shoulders and back. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids always use both shoulder straps when wearing a backpack. Also, check with your school to see if they allow rolling backpacks, which may be a good option for students who have a lot to carry.