Summer is coming to an end and most kids have headed back to school. It is time to switch the focus and start thinking about classes, sports, and after-school activities. As you begin your back-to-school preparations and pick out your new clothes and backpacks, it is also a good idea to begin the school year off with new healthy habits for the kids and the entire family.
Here are some back-to-school health tips to set your family up for a healthy, successful year.
1. Get an Annual Physical Exam and Vaccines: Physical exams should be done annually and especially before the start of the school year to ensure medical records and vaccines are up to date. It is also important that everyone in your family is up to date on their vaccinations as early as possible in the school year. Schools often require specific vaccinations before enrolling for classes; discuss required vaccinations with your children’s health care provider and consider getting flu shots early in the year.
2. Set Schedules: During the summer, children tend to have variable schedules and stay up later, which allows them to sleep in later. It is essential for children to get a healthy amount of sleep every night so they stay focused throughout their school day. Typically, children need 8-10 hours of sleep every night, and it is recommended to start your child on a sleep schedule at least a week before they start school. You can start making bedtimes earlier each night and stick to a routine. Get your family into healthy sleep habits all year round.
3. Plan healthy meals and snacks: It is easy to stock your kitchen and kids’ lunches with pre-made snacks, but a healthy diet is essential in the overall health picture. Include fruits and veggies and lean protein rich snacks. Keep pre-washed vegetables and fruits readily available for grab and go snacks. Take some time during the weekends to pre-pare snack size fruit cups, vegetables, tuna salad, or hard-boiled eggs for mornings and after school snacks. Make sure to get an insulated lunch box to keep your healthy meals fresh!
4. Practice health hygiene habits: Back-to-school means back to exposure to germs!! To prevent your children from getting sick, it is important to teach them proper methods to protect them. Make sure to go over hand washing techniques after using the restroom, before and after meals, and after sneezing or coughing. It is helpful to provide portable hand sanitizer to use on the go.
5. Get Active: Plan after school activities for your child. Adding sports and exercise into a daily routine is the perfect way to keep them healthy. When possible, take a walk or bike ride and encourage activities that increase movement. Children tend to be more active when they engage in activities with their parents. Staying active reduces sedentary time in front of the television, computers, or video games which helps keep weight and other health risks in check.
Even the healthiest of us can fall ill or suffer an injury. While proper rest and nutrition can help you recover in some cases, families should be aware of nearby medical centers and urgent cares in case they require further medical attention.
For all your healthcare and wellness needs, Dr. De Leon is available at Eastside Urgent Care, with three locations throughout Gwinnett that are open seven days a week. Eastside Urgent Care also offers patients the option to save their spot online and view current wait times on their website. For more information, visit www.eastsideuc.com.