April 19, 2024

Tips for a Healthy Start to the School Year

As summer break is winding down, there is a lot to accomplish in preparation for a new school year. Its time to start purchasing items such as pens, pencils, notebooks and backpacks. But what about your child’s health and wellness? In the whirlwind of school preparation, it is important to emphasize health. Establishing a few healthy habits can help ease the transition back to school.

Focus on your child’s nutrition-Make sure your child gets up early enough to eat a nutritious breakfast before heading to school. Breakfast is known for being the most important meal of the day, and this especially goes for school aged kids too! If your child brings lunch from home, include a variety of healthy options such as protein, fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Avoid items that contain sugar and caffeine. If they eat school lunch, try talking to your child about what they ate that day so you can encourage healthy choices.

Rest-A good night’s sleep is essential for good health at any age. Both kids and parents need plenty of rest. Adults need 7-8 hours but children actually require more.
Preschool aged children need 10-13 hours.
School-aged children need 9-11 hours.
Teenagers need 8-10 hours.
If your child is having trouble falling asleep, consider limiting screen time at least 2 hours before bedtime. Electronic devices have been shown to disrupt the body’s ability to fall asleep.
Calm worries and anxieties-Children often feel nervous, experience separation anxiety, or pressure to stay on top of schoolwork. If you make sure your child is aware who their teacher(s) are, class schedules, and any other changes they might encounter. Plan a tour of the school and a meet and greet with teacher to help ease some anxieties before the first day.

Check Up/Physical-Yearly physicals are important to ensure your child is growing and developing correctly and to discuss any concerns. Routine dental visits and vision screenings are also highly recommended.

Immunizations-Parents are encouraged to keep children up to date on their vaccinations. Not only do they protect your child from a potential serious illness, but they also help to eradicate these diseases. Meigs County Health Dept. offers immunizations Monday-Friday from 8AM-3:30PM. Please bring your child’s insurance card, shot record and insurance policy holder’s photo ID. Vaccine is available for free for un/underinsured children aged birth-18 years. A $30 administration fee is appreciated, but not required.

Updating Medical Information-Let the school know of any medications your child takes, medical conditions, or allergies your child has.

Avoid Backpack Overload-A backpack that is too heavy or worn incorrectly can strain a child’s neck and back. The backpack should have two wide, well-padded shoulder straps that are pulled tightly enough so that bag fits snugly against the child’s back (but doesn’t pull on the shoulders). A child’s backpack should never be more than 10-20% of their body weight. If a locker is available, encourage your child to store extra supplies in it instead of their backpack.

Keep children home when they’re sick-It is recommended to keep your child home from school if they have a fever, feel too sick to participate in class, or have a contagious condition. When in doubt, it is usually best to err on the side of caution and keep your child home. This not only helps them recover, but prevents spreading those germs to others.

Movement- Physical activity has been shown to positively affect a child’s ability to concentrate and improve memory.

Practice positivity- Last but not least, create a routine that promotes positivity each day. Make time to check in with your child. Set aside times that you can give your full attention to their concerns, anxieties, and excitements. Eating a meal together, reading, and playing games are a great time to connect. Remember to celebrate their accomplishments, big or small.

Your child’s health (both physical and mental) matters. Following these simple tips can help ensure they feel their best and get as much as possible out of the upcoming school year.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyschools

Shauna Chapman
Administrative Assistant