Summer Is Over! Tips To Keeping Your Kids Healthy This School Year
Summer is every kid’s favorite time of year, a carefree few months where they get to hang out with their friends, stay up past their bedtime and not have to worry about any homework or projects due the next day. It is also when kids of all ages are more physically active, especially when their screen time is limited by their parents. But, when the school year starts back up again in a few weeks, kids will be spending hours at a time sitting at their desks, with a very small window of the day being spent outside again. With these changes coming, how can parents ensure their kids stay healthy throughout the next nine months?
- Pack a Nutritious Lunch
The first thing parents can do is send their kids to school with a nutritious lunch each and every day. While schools do have healthy options for the students to choose from, younger kids cannot always be trusted to make decisions that are best for their physical well-being. Parents can monitor what they have for lunch by actually making it themselves. By doing so they can choose healthy alternatives, such as juice instead of soda and fresh fruit instead of potato chips. This will keep the kids well fed and fueled so they can focus on their tasks at hand all afternoon.
- Encourage Adequate Sleep
One of the major aspects of a healthy school year that can be easily overlooked is the amount of sleep a child gets each night. For kids that are in elementary school, it is essential that they get around 10 hours of sleep every evening to help fully recharge their bodies in minds. While this might sound simple in theory, in practice it can actually be quite difficult. Between after school activities and homework, it can often feel as if kids are scheduled every possible minute of the day. Shifting schedules around during the school year for enough sleep is something that will be a team effort.
- Start With a Strong Breakfast
It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it can easily be lost in the chaos of the morning routine, especially if you have multiple kids to get off to school during the day. But every parent needs to carve out a little bit of time in the morning, even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes, to make sure that their kids have something in their stomach before running off for the school bus. An empty stomach will break a child’s concentration all morning, as the only thing they will be focused on is when they can go to lunch. A bowl of cereal or fruit can easily stop this from happening, and keep your child focused on their work.
- Pick The Right Backpack
Kids today carry around many pounds’ worth of school books and notebooks, which can result in sustained back pain if the right backpack is not chosen. You will want a backpack this is able to evenly distribute the weight, as research suggests that a child should be carrying no matter than 10 percent of their total body weight in their backpacks, or else major long-term damage can be done to the spine. Children should only be carrying what is absolutely necessary for the day or their next set of classes, and leave anything extra behind either in their lockers or even at home.
- Get Outside!
Emphasizing outdoor activity whenever possible is also important, as kids should get as much exercise as possible during the school year. They’ll spend enough time indoors as it is during the day, so those hours on the playground after class is out will help them unwind mentally and strengthen themselves physically. Take time out of your busy schedule to encourage outside play by driving the family to the park, signing up for sports, or any number of ways to stay active and enjoy the fresh air.
The return to the school year means a sense of normalcy. But with the business of class and extracurricular activities, don’t forget about taking time to make healthy choices. Follow these tips and make this year your most successful, healthy, and happy one yet!