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Get a Healthy Start to the New School Year

August has officially started, which means the school year is vastly approaching. It is time to bring out the lunchboxes, backpacks and the number two pencils. Before starting that back to school shopping, Gwendolyn Welsh, MD, The Christ Hospital Physicians – Primary Care recommends following these tips for a healthy back to school transition:

  1. Establish an early routine. At least two weeks before school starts adjust your child’s schedule. For example, change their bedtime to make sure they get at least eight to nine hours of sleep. Many kids need at least nine hours or more to get a good night’s sleep.   
  2. Good eating habits start early. It is important to have a good breakfast to start your day. Some kids can be picky so take them to the grocery store with you so they can pick healthy foods that they will enjoy. Also, lunch plays a role with how the rest of the day will go, so make sure they have at least two to three items that are healthy.
  3. Get acquainted with the school. Some kids might be heading to a different building within the district. Before school starts try to bring your child to their school so they can see where their classroom is and their locker or cubby is located. It will help your child to be less stressed or nervous on the first day. If you have any concerns, make sure to contact your child’s teacher before school starts so they are aware of your concerns.
  4. Check the school bus route and safety. Before the first day, make sure your child knows their bus number and what time the bus arrives. When your child is on the bus, make sure they know the rules set by the National Safety Council. For example, they should learn the hand sign the bus drivers gives when it is ok to cross the street.
  5. Exercise. After a long school day, it is important that kids get at least an hour or more of physical of activity. It gives their brain a break as well as helps them sleep better at night. Also, you can join them as well so you can get your daily dose of exercise.
  6. Support. Talk to your child before school starts and set some goals for this coming school year as well as set expectations you want from them. Also, try talking to them more about their day. Usually the only response parents get from their kids after school is “fine’ or “good”. It might be difficult at first, but be sure to ask every day.

From Christ Hospital/Photo: Holmes High School (RCN file)