Article of the month

8 Tips for a healthy schoolyear

  1. Getting Enough ZZZs
    By far, the most important school health issue for most kids is getting enough sleep - about 10 to 11 hours a night for elementary school-age children.
  2. Testing Eyes and Ears
    You can’t expect a child to learn if she’s having trouble seeing the blackboard or hearing the teacher. So have your paediatrician screen for vision and hearing problems during your child’s back-to-school checkup.
  3. Lunchtime!
    You may be planning healthy, well-balanced lunches to pack in your child’s shiny new Spongebob lunchbox. Just don’t be surprised if those turkey sandwiches and carrot sticks come back untouched. Eating in new surroundings and under tight time constraints can make some children’s appetites evaporate. Don’t worry too much if your child only nibbles on lunch at school, instead, focus on providing a protein-filled breakfast. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it has some protein. It makes a real difference in your child’s energy level. With a little bit of fat and fibre from complex carbohydrates, your child will be ready to start the day. You should also take time to eat breakfast with your children, it’s tough, but parents are the most important role models. Why would your kid eat breakfast if you don’t?
  4. Bathroom Break
    Adjusting to classroom life can be overwhelming for a child who’s a little embarrassed about asking to go to the bathroom, and there’s nothing more humiliating than an “accident” at school. To help your child avoid any problems, have a talk ahead of time about school bathroom rules - taking breaks as scheduled, and raising your hand for permission to leave the room.
  5. Scruba-Dub-Dub
    The first day of school brings new friends, new activities --and a bunch of new germs. That’s why good hand-washing habits are critical for school-age children. Children (like adults) need to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom and before they eat. Kids hate to wash their hands, but they need to understand that germs can be bad for us.
  6. Calling in Sick
    No matter how much you emphasize personal hygiene, your child is bound to get a cold during the school year. To make the first morning your child wakes up with the sniffles easier, study in advance a copy of your school’s guidelines on when to keep a sickly child at home. Don’t wait until your child’s first illness. If you’re not at home during the day, you’ll need to prepare a battle plan to provide reliable backup child care for unexpected sick days.
  7. Stay Safe
    When a child starts school, it’s often the first time he’s out from under your watchful eye for any length of time. So it’s important to review basic safety rules. If your child will be walking to school, go over the route together ahead of time to check out possible hazards, such as busy streets. Don’t let a young child walk to school alone, and don’t expect a slightly older brother or sister to provide adequate safety supervision, Dr. Schiff says. “There are just too many distractions for 7-, 8-, and 9-year-olds,” he adds. “Their ability to take responsibility is limited.”
  8. Get Moving
    Kids need 20 to 30 minutes of regular, nonstop exercise a day. Physical education classes and after-school sports may not be enough.
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