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Smart Parenting

Practical advice about raising children

Keeping Kids Healthy During the School Year

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It’s that time of year again when parents are rejoicing and children are lamenting about the upcoming school year. Suddenly, we are carefully checking school supply lists, scheduling haircuts, and trying desperately to get back into a routine. As you plan and prepare, take a few minutes to consider the ways you can help keep your kids healthy and thriving as they head back to class this fall. To help you on this journey, here are ten tips to implement this school year.

Use proper hand washing and hygiene techniques

Get adequate amounts of sleep

The rigors of school, extracurriculars and homework mean kids can easily become sleep-deprived.  This can result in poor school performance, attention disorders, mood disruptions, and immune systems that are more susceptible to illness. Experts recommend children get at least 9 hours of sleep every night.

Rethink breakfast

When many of us were growing up, we started our mornings with a bowl of cereal. Unfortunately, these traditional morning staples are loaded with sugar, added fiber, and synthetic vitamins or minerals. Look outside of the cereal box for alternative meal ideas, including whole grains and proteins, to fuel a child’s body and satisfy their hunger until lunch. For starters, consider adding eggs or oatmeal back into your family’s daily morning routine.

Arm your kids with techniques to manage stress

Whether it is balancing grades and activities, homework, or scoring the winning touchdown on Friday night, kids feel a lot of pressure from parents, teachers, coaches and peers. This is especially true as they enter high school and start looking toward college. Let them know that it is okay to make mistakes and teach them methods to overcome setbacks and disappointments.

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Avoid sharing water bottles or personal hygiene items

We always teach our children to share, but this is one surefire way to pass germs and illness around a classroom. Tell kids, “if you put it in your mouth, don’t share”. Advise older kids to avoid sharing deodorants or razors after gym or practice.

Look for fun ways to get out and exercise

Whether it’s biking, jump roping, playing Just Dance, or catching Pokemon, look for activities that are fun and encourage you to get in shape while participating. If the activities are appealing to our kids, exercising will seem less like a chore and more like a treat. Consider how celebrities like Kelly Osbourne, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jason Mraz,  Beyonce, and even First Lady Michelle Obama are enjoying the hula hoop fitness movement and having fun at the same time!

Look for eco-friendly and healthy materials for packing lunches and snacks

Instead of wrapping sandwiches and meal items in questionable one-time use only plastics, consider utilizing safe reusable alternatives. While we realistically can’t avoid plastics, look for recycling codes 1, 2, 4, and 5 on the bottom of products before purchasing. These are the safest to use. Also, avoid microwaving food in plastic containers if at all possible to avoid chemicals leeching into our foods.

What advice do you have for keeping your kids healthy this school year?