With summer quickly coming to a close, it’s time to start preparing for yet another school year. Nevertheless, as the first day of school approaches, you’re likely stressed between gathering all your child’s school supplies and signing up for extracurricular activities.
It’s no wonder healthy habits start falling by the wayside before school begins.
Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of essential back to school health tips for students and parents to ensure your family kicks off the new school year on the right foot.
So read on to learn easy ways to keep health and wellness at the forefront this year.
Engage in Mindfulness Activities
If your child isn’t eager to start school, don’t worry. It’s completely normal. Whether your child is going to school for the first time or entering a new school, there are plenty of reasons to be nervous on the first day.
However, practicing mindfulness can help your child’s mental health and well-being. Practicing mindfulness means paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and external environment.
Regular mindfulness activities can help children regulate their emotions and respond to their environment in healthier ways.
Some mindfulness activities include:
- Coloring or doodling
- Slow movements
- Soft breathing exercises
Practice Good Sleeping Habits
When discussing health tips for back to school, it’s imperative to talk about sleep. The CDC has age-specific recommendations for how many hours of sleep children, adolescents, and adults should get each night.
Their guidelines are as follows:
- Toddlers and preschoolers: 10-14 hours
- Elementary- and middle-school-aged children: 9-12 hours
- Teenagers: 8-10 hours
- Those aged 20-34: 7-9 hours
- 35+ years old: at least 7 hours
Even though your child needs more sleep than you do, you can still create a bedtime routine that involves the whole family. Getting a good night’s sleep is in everyone’s best interest because good sleep improves brain performance and mood. Further, good sleep helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and lower your risk for severe health conditions.
Follow Important Hygiene Routines
We all know germs are everywhere, but they are especially lurking around your child’s school. Encourage frequent handwashing with warm water and soap to limit sickness. Everyone should wash their hands in these instances:
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose
- After going to the bathroom
- Before eating
Also, teach your children safe ways to cough or sneeze by using a tissue or their elbow when a tissue is unavailable.
You can even go the extra mile and ask your child’s teacher if you can provide any additional supplies to encourage good hygiene in the classroom, such as:
- Cleaning wipes or sprays
- Hand sanitizer or soap
- Tissue boxes
Prioritize Healthy Eating Habits
One of the most vital back to school tips for health is nutritious eating. Nearly 20% of American children have obesity, which puts them at risk for asthma, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.
Yet, while there are many nutrition tips for kids, let’s discuss the basics. Children need a balanced diet that includes:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean meats and proteins
- Whole grains
Their diet should include controlled portions of oil and limited amounts of the following:
- Saturated fats
Life is busy, especially with multiple afterschool activities and homework. One of the ways to ensure your kids get the nutrients they need is with healthy meals at home – our specialty at Fitlife Foods! Family meals can also help boost your child’s language skills, reduce stress, and increase their likelihood of eating more nutritious food.
Fitlife Foods has many different meal options that the entire family will enjoy, so you can be sure you’re fueling your learners with the most nutritious, tastiest food selections that set them up for success.
Get Enough Exercise
Did you know kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily? A lack of exercise can negatively affect your child’s health and reduce mental performance at school.
After-school activities, such as sports, are an excellent way to incorporate physical activity into a busy schedule. Or simply going for family walks several times a week can also help include physical activity in everyone’s lives.
If your child loves playing video games, limit their screen time and get them moving as often as possible to ensure they stay active. Too much screen time comes with its own set of health concerns.
Schedule a Wellness Exam and Immunizations
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should visit their primary care pediatrician yearly for a checkup from the age of three. The annual checkup is a time to do the following:
- Get advice about staying healthy
- Have your healthcare provider answer questions
- Identify emerging health problems
- Receive vaccinations required by the school or yearly immunizations like the flu shot
- Test hearing and vision
Your family may also want to consult a health and wellness coach like the ones on staff through our free wellness program to learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Talk to Your Kids About Common Dangers
While we typically consider schools safe places, there are some dangers to discuss with your kids. For instance, if they walk or bike to school, ensure they know the safest route and suggest they go with a buddy. If they travel by car or school bus, teach them how to buckle their seatbelts properly.
Also, talk to your kids about bullying. Bullying is common in schools and can leave lasting scars on children. Your child should know who to talk to for help and learn strategies for standing up for themselves.
As children enter middle and high school, talk to them openly about alcohol and drug use and becoming sexually active. Likely, they’re already having these discussions with their friends, so you want to engage them in a conversation about making smart and healthy choices.
Practice Backpack Safety
Unfortunately, backpacks can cause significant health problems if your child is lugging around too much weight for the entire school day.
Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back to limit strain. Adjust the straps so the bottom of the bag sits at your child’s waist.
Pack heavier items in the center of the backpack, near the bottom. At most, the bag shouldn’t weigh over 20% of your child’s body weight.
Save Time With Healthy Meal Prep or Delivery Services
When your family follows these back to school health tips, you’ll all start the new school year incredibly well!
Let us help you take the guesswork out of healthy living by covering your bases with nutritious food. Take it one step further and incorporate consistent healthy eating into your schedule by ordering our meal delivery service. We have dozens of delicious, healthy meals to choose from, so there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.