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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Back-to-school health tips for parents

As schools prepare to open their doors for a new academic year, parents play a crucial role in ensuring their children are healthy, energized, and ready to learn. Here are five practical health tips for parents to help their children have a smooth transition back to school.

Schedule a pre-school health checkup
Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to update immunizations and get a general health checkup before school starts. Dr. Opoola Zainab, a pediatric specialist, emphasizes that these checkups are vital for catching any health issues early and ensuring your child meets school health requirements. This is also a great opportunity to discuss any concerns about your child’s health or developmental milestones.

Create a sleep schedule
Proper sleep is critical for your child’s health and academic performance. Two weeks before school starts, gradually adjust bedtime routines to match the school schedule. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children aged 6 to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep. Limit screen time in the evening and establish a relaxing bedtime routine that could include reading together or quiet time to help them wind down.

Schoolchildren observing lunch break

Plan healthy meals and snacks
Good nutrition is essential for focus and learning. Start your child’s day with a balanced breakfast that includes proteins, whole grains, and fruits. Dr. Sarah Benson, a nutritionist in the UK, advises preparing lunch menus that keep your child’s diet varied and interesting, avoiding excessive sugars and processed foods. Involve your child in the meal preparation process to teach them about nutrition and help them make healthier choices.

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Encourage daily physical activity
Physical activity should be a daily habit. The American Heart Association recommends children participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.

Encourage your child to take part in school or community sports programs. For non-sporty types, consider fun alternatives like dance classes, swimming, or cycling. Even walking to school can significantly boost their activity levels.

Hand hygiene for prevention of worm infestation

Teach and reinforce good hygiene
Good hygiene is your child’s first defense against illnesses. Teach them to wash their hands frequently, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. Pack a small hand sanitizer in their school bag for times when they can’t wash their hands. Remind them about the importance of not sharing drinks, food, or utensils with classmates to prevent the spread of germs.

Preparing your child for a successful school year means more than just buying new school supplies—it involves taking proactive steps to ensure they are healthy.

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By following these practical health tips, you’ll not only help your child avoid common school-related illnesses but also lay a strong foundation for a productive and enjoyable year ahead.

Here’s to a healthy, active, and successful school year!

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