Class Is In Session
The first day back to school can be an exciting moment in time. Fresh supplies, a new pair of shoes, and a chance to reunite with friends. Kids are enthusiastic and parents are often relieved. As you get your kids and yourself back into the swing of things, keep in mind a few strategies to ensure that you all stay in good mental and physical health.
VISIT YOUR DOCTOR
Now is a good time to schedule an annual physical and eye exam to be certain your kids are in good shape to do and see everything this school year. Pediatricians recommend that you and your children get vaccinated as early as possible this fall. Certain vaccinations, such as whooping cough and tetanus, may be required by most schools as a condition of enrollment. Unsure about which vaccines are absolutely necessary? Talk to your children’s doctor and your own doctor to find out what is best.
GET UP AND MOVE
Since the 1970s, obesity rates in children have more than tripled in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about one in five school-aged children is obese, putting them at risk for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. You can keep your kids at a healthy weight with daily exercise and participation in sports. When choosing after-school activities, look for those that involve movement. Make time in the evenings and on weekends to walk the dog or enjoy a bike ride with your kids. Active parents have active kids, making for a healthy and fit family.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Teach younger children to protect themselves from germy schools and pals, especially at meal and restroom times. Show them proper handwashing—with an ample amount of soap and at least 20 seconds of vigorous scrubbing,
as recommended by the Mayo Clinic. While you are out school shopping, pick up a few mini hand sanitizers for your kids to carry in their backpacks and maybe a jumbo- size for the classroom.
ARE YOU AND YOUR KIDS GETTING ENOUGH ZS?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 3to5need10to13hoursofsleepanight.Ages6to13 need 9 to 11 hours. And, like you, your teens 14 and up should get 8 to 10 hours.
NO FLU FOR YOU
Everyone six months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DO provide a quiet, consistent workspace for your child.
DO answer questions and offer assistance. DO encourage the use of checklists and timers. DON’T let after-school activities take up homework time.
DON’T do the homework for your child.
DON’T let TV and electronic devices distract your kids during homework.
FIND THE BEST BACKPACK
Childhood is no time for backaches. Look for a backpack with padding along the back and shoulder straps. Encourage your kids to pack only the necessities to keep their burden as light as possible. Use front compartments for small supplies and pack heavier items closest to the center. A good rule of thumb is that the backpack should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight. Make sure your child is using both shoulder straps with the bottom of the pack sitting at the waist.
RELAX AND BREATHE
Going back to school causes anxiety for some kids and parents. If your little ones are feeling apprehensive, remind them about fun experiences they had in past school years. Let them know that you and their teacher will be there for support. Listen as they verbalize fears. Find a few books to ease back-to-school jitters. Reading about another person’s experiences can calm your child. Show your children how to take deep breaths and visualize positive actions. Be sure they are getting enough rest, healthy food, and plenty of water so they can be well both physically and mentally.