10 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Healthy This School Year

It’s that time of year, once again, when school is back in session. Brand new book bags are filled with shiny new supplies. Summer’s been a blast, but your kids are eager to get back to their friends and take on all the excitement a new school year brings; for awhile, at least.

Back-to-school means back to firm schedules, predictable routines, and earlier bedtimes. Unfortunately, back-to-school can also mean back to germ-filled environments where hand washing isn’t always as thorough as can be and viruses can spread like wildfire.

A family affair

The average child experiences up to 10 infections per year, with the majority of those being respiratory infections. Older siblings can bring colds and flu home to share with the rest of the family. Not only is your child uncomfortable, but these illnesses result in missed school for the kids and missed work for you.

Tips for staying healthy

Here are 10 ways you can help your kid stay healthy this school year:

1. Stay on top of vaccinations:  

Make sure your child has the proper immunizations for school and to help protect them from devastating illness. Mom and dad should opt for a flu shot, along with the rest of the family. This is the one sure way to prevent the spread of the flu, which has the potential to be dangerous for those with weakened immune systems.

2. Instruct your child in hand washing:  

Show your child how to suds-up for the right amount of time to kill those germs by singing two choruses of the Birthday Song or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. If soap and water isn’t an option, make sure your child has hand sanitizer and uses it frequently. Instruct them to keep hands away from their eyes, nose, and mouth.

3. Get regular hearing and vision checks:  

Make sure hearing and vision checks are a routine part of your kids back-to-school wellness exam. Vision and hearing problems need to be recognized before they impair your kids ability to stay focused and learn in the classroom.

4. Sleep is essential:  

Something as basic as sleep is essential to your kids healthy development. Be consistent with bedtime, reduce screen time for two hours before bed, and help your child unwind and relax before “lights out” with a bath, a story, and a kiss goodnight.

5. Learn to recognize signs of stress and anxiety in your kids:  

You know that stress plays a significant role in your own health, and so it goes with your kids as well. Learn to recognize when something isn’t quite right. If your upbeat kid is suddenly sullen, or your talkative teen has gone quiet, spend some time getting them to open up about what’s bothering them. Maybe it’s time to throttle back on the extracurricular activities to keep your kids healthy.

6. A healthy diet is a must:  

A healthy diet is the cornerstone of a strong immune system and keeping your kids healthy. Make dinner time a family event as often as you can. You’ll be amazed by what your kids will consume when they are engaged and talking about their day.

Include your kids in the shopping and meal planning. Serve a variety of fresh foods, including whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. Limit sugar and fast foods. Plan ahead so you always have healthy snacks available for those after school “hungries.”

7. Breakfast isn’t optional:  

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A nourishing breakfast is essential to keeping your kids healthy and preventing illness. Healthy proteins (eggs, turkey sausage, peanut butter, or plain yogurt) and complex carbs (oatmeal, whole grain toast, waffles, or pancakes) make a perfect combination to power your kids until lunchtime. Add some fruit or juice for the win.

8. Backpack the right way:  

Make sure your children are wearing their backpack the right way to prevent injury. Always wear both straps. Have your child put on their backpack so you can make adjustments and tighten the straps. Show them how to wear the waist belt of the backpack. This eases the burden on the shoulders and upper back, keeping your kids healthy and injury-free.

9. Exercise outdoors daily:  

Outdoor play is healthy for children. It helps them sleep better, eases stress, boosts the appetite, and provides a dose of vitamin D, all essential in boosting the immune system.

10. Prevent the spread of cold viruses:  

Show your child how to sneeze or cough into their inside elbow to prevent the spread of cold germs. Instruct them not to share cups, straws, or other utensils, or food from their meal or snack. After all, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.

When you need a visit to the doctor

Should your child get sick and need medical attention, Joshua Medical Group is here to help. We are a multi-practitioner medical group serving families in and around the Palmdale, CA area. Dr. Gonzalo Martinez leads the group practice and specializes in family medicine, as well as aesthetic procedures. Contact Joshua Medical Group to address all your medical needs, at every stage of life.

 

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