5 Tips from ExperCARE
Ready or not… here it comes! A fun, hot summer has come to a close and it’s time for back to school. Back to school means early mornings, a daily routine, hours of classes, and a chance for kids to learn, grow, and become more independent. But school can also translate to a place of sneezing, sniffles, and sharing more than just your child’s summer memories. Here are five tips to help keep the back to school transition as healthy and germ-free as possible!
- Get Plenty of Sleep: Sleep is even more important than you think. Setting a bedtime routine and a consistent sleep schedule helps improve your child’s physical and emotional health, and also plays an important role in how they perform in school. Children aged 6-13 are supposed to get 9-11 hours of sleep. But why? Between school, friends, chores, sports, after school activities, and homework… Their bodies and brains need a break.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet & Drink Plenty of Fluids: A strong immune system helps ward off those illnesses floating around the school hallways. Breakfast, as you know, is the most important meal of the day… especially for our kids. A balanced breakfast jump starts their day and gives them the brain power and capability to maintain steady energy from the time they leavethe house in the morning to the time they get home. If you’re able, pack a healthy lunch for your child. Make it fun, colorful, and delicious so that they’ll enjoy the meal. After they hop off the school bus, prepare a nutritious after-school snack for them like fruits, veggies, string cheese, or protein. Allow them to grocery shop with you, so they can help pick out these healthy snacks and lunches… It’ll make it more fun! It’s also important to have your child drink lots of water. Hydration is critical for proper immune system function. Drink early (starting first thing in the morning) and drink enough (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child of about 88 pounds should drink 5 ounces of cold water every 20 minutes). Don’t forget about hydrating before and after outdoor activities and sports.
- Be Up-to-date on Your Vaccinations: It can seem overwhelming as a parent, but vaccines are some of the safest and most effective medicines we have. The CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend a vaccination schedule that covers about 14 different diseases. Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, but they also keep other children safe.
- Stay Active: Physical activity helps prevent and reduce health problems for our children. When kids are active, their bodies can do the things they want them to do. Teaching them these healthy, active habits at an early age helps lead to a lifetime of enjoying physical activity, especially as schedules get busier, demands are heightened at school, and sports become more competitive. Active lifestyles translate to a healthy weight, better sleep, stronger muscles and bones, and a more positive perspective on life.
- Wash Your Hands Regularly :It’s such a no brainer, and seems obvious, but often times is forgotten. Encourage your kids to get in the habit of washing their hands after coughing, sneezing, petting animals, eating food, using the bathroom, and just regularly. Every time your child touches someone or something they risk spreading germs.
And of course, if your child comes down with the back to school bug (or runs a fever), keep them home and away from school to protect that bug from spreading.