Health Brief: Back-to-School Checklist
Parents are typically under high stress as the new school year approaches, because it is a time of frequent illness, hectic scheduling, and anxiety in children. To make the start of the school year easier this fall, use this simple checklist of important activities to encourage wellness throughout the academic year.
The classroom and playground are ideal settings for germs and viruses to spread, so you should make sure that your child knows the fundamentals of proper handwashing to practice throughout the day. Teach your kids to wash frequently with soap and warm water and scrub their hands for 20 seconds—or about the time it takes to sing the ABCs.
A well-balanced diet will keep your child’s immune system strong. You can encourage healthy eating in your child by setting a good example with your own eating habits, packing wholesome lunches, and providing tasty, low-calorie afterschool snacks. Be sure that your child drinks plenty of water too, as hydration is essential for good health.
When children do not sleep enough at night, they become more likely to be disruptive or sleepy during the school day. Children typically need more sleep than adults, so you should get them ready to go to sleep earlier each night as the first day of school approaches. When you gradually adjust your children’s sleeping schedule, it will be easier for them to get up on time in the morning when school starts.
Sticking to a Schedule
Families that stay organized tend to experience less stress when kids return to school. Keeping a large color-coded calendar in the kitchen or living room will help everyone stay on schedule and coordinate each week. You can also schedule time in the day for kids to do homework so they are prepared and anxiety-free every day in the classroom.
If your children’s school is within walking distance of your home, you can spend some extra time with your kids each day by walking them to school. Otherwise, you might exercise as a family in the evening with trips to the local park, light jogging, or bike rides through the neighborhood. When you promote regular exercise in your family, you will be helping to reduce stress, increase energy, and encourage healthy weights for every member of the family.
Enjoy back-to-school by minimizing stress and promoting healthy habits in your family. Keep these guidelines in mind to kick off a successful new school year.