Sending your kids back to school means exposing them to the germs of countless other children. While you can’t completely avoid illness, there are things you can do to help you kids stay healthy. Here are a few tips you can utilize throughout the year.
Get Adequate Sleep
Establish a consistent bedtime for your children. Kids in grades K-6 need 9-11 hours of sleep per night. Make sure your child is going to bed early enough to make that happen. The quality of sleep they get each night directly affects behavior, eating habits and their immune system. If your child is not getting good sleep, they will likely have more temper tantrums, mood swings and get sick more often.
Eat Nutritious Food
It’s no secret that eating a variety of nutritious foods is a great way to boost your immune system. Incorporating appropriate amounts of fruits, vegetables, protein, carbs and fats is the key to a balanced diet. Encourage your children to drink water and limit sugary juices and drinks.
Be cognizant of what you’re feeding your children before school. Eating a breakfast that includes protein, grains and dairy has been proven to positively impact your child throughout their day. A good breakfast improves concentration and focus. Additionally, make sure to have healthy snacks available for your children and try to eat dinner together as much as possible. This has been shown to positively impact health and well-being.
Reduce Screen Time
Did you know that the amount of screen time your children have each day can affect their ability to fight off illness? An article written by Jason Patera for nebraskamed.com explains, “Any screen time not associated with homework should be limited to less than two hours a day. This includes phones, television, tablets, video games and computers. The type of light emitted from these screens can reduce melatonin levels, making it more difficult to fall asleep and can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm.”
Exercise is another way to help your child stay healthy. Experts say that 60 minutes per day can help boost your child’s immune system. Exercise also has a plethora of other benefits including reducing stress, and improved behavior.
Teaching your children to correctly wash their hands is an important life skill. Young children in particular need a lot of practice in this area. A good rule of thumb to ensure your children are washing their hands for an appropriate amount of time is to teach them to sing the Happy Birthday song twice through. Teach your child to keep their hands off their face as much as possible. Also, teach them to cough or sneeze in their elbow instead of their hands.
Deal with Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety takes a toll on everyone’s health. Even young children experience these emotions. School can be a massive source of stress for all students. Help your child navigate these emotions when they arise.