Where does the time go? It seems like we just unpacked the summer hats and flip-flops and now we’re already heading out on back-to-school shopping trips. This fall, send your kids back to the classroom with more than a new cardigan and some number two pencils – and no, we’re not talking about buying them smartphones and tablets – we’re talking about arming them with some healthy advice (sorry, kids).
Check out these four back to school tips to help your little students enjoy a healthier back-to-school season.
Wash those hands.
Parents of young children know all too well that students aren’t the only ones attending school – germs, so many germs, are also hanging out at the playgrounds, classrooms, washrooms and cafeterias where their kids congregate. The best way to battle these germs and prevent the spread of illness is good old-fashioned hand washing. Teach your little ones to regularly scrub up with warm water and soap, washing palms, the backs of their hands, their fingers and their fingernails before drying up with a clean hand towel or paper towel. Hand washing is particularly handy after kids have used the bathroom, played outside or blown their noses, as well as before eating. To make sure they are doing a thorough enough job, get kids in the habit of counting to 15 or singing the Happy Birthday song to time their hand washing. Get a good night’s sleep.
Get a good night’s sleep!
School-aged children generally require between 9-11 hours of sleep to function properly. When your kids aren’t getting enough shut-eye, it can affect their temperament, behaviour, alertness levels and ability to learn, both at school and at home. Signs children may be sleep-deprived can include hyperactivity, crankiness and memory or concentration problems. To help your kids enjoy a restful night’s sleep that will keep them going all day, you can help them build good sleep habits through consistent night-time routines and bedtimes, limiting screen time in the evening, and providing a cool, dark sleeping environment.
Fuel up with healthy foods
Though it can be a challenge, providing well-balanced and nutritious meals is one of the most important things you can do for your child. Start them off right with a healthy, complete breakfast every morning – try an energy-boosting smoothie or these kid-friendly breakfast burrito bites. When it comes to carbohydrates, avoid sugary cereals and stick to complex carbs like fruit, whole grains, and oatmeal that help to regulate blood-sugar levels. Follow up breakfast with a satisfying lunch, rich in protein, to keep your kids going throughout the school day. Opt for items like yogurt, veggies, muffins, turkey and cheese over highly processed snack foods that offer little more than empty calories. A smart after-school snack and a well-balanced dinner round out the day. To ensure your kids, especially the picky eaters, are getting all the nutrients and vitamins their growing bodies require, consider adding a supplement like these fun U-Cubes Multi gummies to their daily routine.
Don’t overload backpacks
Backpacks are a convenient way to haul school supplies and homework assignments around, but a poorly fitting, overloaded backpack does more harm than good. Worn incorrectly, a backpack can cause back, shoulder, and neck pain and encourage your child to compensate for this discomfort with bad posture that can eventually lead to spinal problems. To prevent this, ensure your child doesn’t carry more than 10% of his or her body weight in a backpack. Padded shoulder straps can help reduce strain on the neck and shoulders; remind kids to wear both straps rather than simply slinging packs over one shoulder. Other ways to prevent back pain and discomfort from a backpack include tightening the straps so the load doesn’t move around as much, keeping the load balanced with equal weight on either side of the backpack, and wearing the waist belt (if there is one) to minimize the pull on their shoulders. Alternatively, you could choose a rolling backpack, so your child can wheel it around when it’s too heavy to carry, then use as a regular backpack when the load is lighter.
More inspiration: Here’s a good reason to remind your kids to chew their food…and maybe your partner and friends too!