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Getting Your Kids Healthy for School

August 8, 2022

by carol evenson, guest contributor

As school season rolls around again, it's your job as a parent to ensure your kids have everything they need. While your next few weeks will consist of gathering all the supplies on your list, the most important thing your kids can take to school is good health. As you prepare for the start of the school year, here are a few tips to keep your children healthy.

Get Sufficient Rest

The first step to keeping your kids healthy as school starts is helping them get sufficient rest. Too many children in the modern world are exhausted, which leads to immune system malfunctions, issues such as subluxation and mood disorders. When your kids don't get enough sleep, they won't be able to perform as well academically as they otherwise could. In the few weeks leading up to the first day of school, do your best to reset your kids' sleep schedules. While no child enjoys waking up early during summer break, encouraging them to get up closer to a school schedule will help prevent exhaustion once the semester starts.

Along with physical rest, try to provide a place of emotional rest for your children too. While there's no way to avoid the stress of school altogether, supporting your kids through struggles like class prep, application for student loans, and school shopping will help alleviate first-day anxiety. Even after the school year starts, your home needs to be a place of peace where your children can relax after a hard day. While it's not practical or responsible to abandon homework once they walk through the front door, patience from you and your partner will help your kids stay motivated. By giving your kids emotional and physical rest, you can improve their health.

Practice Proper Hygiene

The second step to keeping your kids healthy as the school year starts is to practice proper hygiene. Every year, illnesses like the flu and strep throat run rampant around schools, especially among younger students. The culprit? A lack of correct handwashing. Before your kids start school, ensure they know how to wash their hands properly. If you have young children, you may have to teach them a song or rhyme to ensure they scrub with soap for long enough. Along with proper handwashing, try to pack hand sanitizer or disinfectant spray into your kids' backpacks for on-the-go hygiene.

Along similar lines, your kids should be up to date on their vaccines. Many schools require shot records for conditions like tetanus, measles, polio, and chicken pox. Because these illnesses are highly contagious, the best way to protect your children is by getting them vaccinated. Many of these shots are available for no cost at your primary care physician's office, so don't hesitate to ask at your family's next visit. By monitoring hygiene and general health practices, you can help prevent illness for your children.

Evaluate Nutritional Needs

Finally, you should evaluate your children's nutritional needs before sending them to school. Growing and learning take a toll on young bodies, and food is necessary to continue both processes. Without proper nutrition, your kids won't be able to perform at school as well, their mood will suffer, and they may miss out on vital growth years. As the new semester rolls around, you may need to adjust your family's diet to accommodate the extra energy your children need. While microwave meals like chicken nuggets are easy and stress-free, your little ones also need balance in their diet to keep things moving full steam ahead (in other words, don't neglect those fruits and veggies).

Nutrition goes beyond food. At all ages, your children must drink enough to stay hydrated. Many families involve their kids in sports or other physical activities after school, each of which requires extra hydration. By encouraging your kids to drink water, juice, or milk, you can keep their minds, bones, and muscles at peak health.

Overall, the start of the school year is a busy time for everyone. Regardless of your children's ages, these tips will help you maintain their health as the new school year starts.

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