Back-to-school season generally means back to busy calendars. We all know that getting your child ready for school involves more than just filling their backpacks with the right supplies. When parents send their child off to school, they want to be confident that their child is mentally and physically prepared. This includes making sure they are caught up on their shots, are well rested, and have healthy meals prepared for them. Follow these helpful tips to make sure you’re sending your child back to school on a healthy note.
1. Get Vaccinated
Vaccinations protect children from many serious illnesses and diseases. In order to be safe, it is important for not only your child to get vaccinated as early as possible in the school year, but for your whole family to get vaccinated as well. A number of schools actually require your child to have certain vaccinations before enrollment. Therefore, it is best to contact your child’s school ahead of time and find out what health requirements are needed. There is likely to be helpful information on the school website regarding health-related requirements. For general health purposes, you should also talk to your child’s healthcare provider to see which ones are recommended.
2. Get a Checkup
When preparing for your child to go back to school, a regular checkup is a great way to identify any issues that could impair your child’s learning ability. A physical may help uncover some unexpected health problems, such as hearing and vision, that could get in the way of your child’s learning. Getting your child’s eyes and ears checked before school begins is particularly important. Children who have difficulty hearing or seeing clearly may not perform as well in class simply because they cannot see the board or hear the teacher. Therefore, it is a good idea to address these issues before school begins to ensure your child is in the best position to learn.
3. Shift Bedtimes
It is important for children to get a healthy amount of sleep each night in order to stay focused throughout the day. The recommended number of sleep hours for children and teenagers falls between 9 and 13 hours. Staying within this range of hours will help your child to be well rested, making him/her more productive and attentive in class.
During summer, children often get in the habit of staying up a little later and sleeping in a little longer. To get your child ready to wake up earlier for school, gradually shift his/her bedtimes a few weeks before school starts. This way, your child will be eased back into the school schedule, rather than laying in bed the night before school fully awake. Additionally, to keep bedtimes constant, try creating an evening structure for your child.
4. Teach Good Hygiene
Although it is great for your child to learn how to share with classmates at school, this also means sharing germs. With a classroom full of children, there are sure to be plenty of germs floating around. To protect both your child and your family, it is essential that you teach your child the importance of washing your hands after using the restroom, and how to properly do so. If you know your child is not keen on taking the time to properly wash hands, it may be a good idea to provide your child with hand sanitizer as a convenient and clean alternative.
5. Stock Up On Healthy Foods
Good nutrition is extremely important for your child’s mental and physical health. When packing lunches for your child, make it easier for yourself by stocking your house full of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, and lean protein. Oftentimes, children are tempted in the school cafeteria with the vending machine and cafeteria food. However, if you pack a lunch full of nutritious and delicious foods, your child will enjoy eating healthy. Also, remember that meal and snack preparation is a great time saver, no matter how small. Taking a few minutes out of your Sunday afternoon to cut up a few fruits and vegetables will shave a lot of time off your busy mornings.
As far as after school goes, the first place children seem to run to when they get home is the kitchen. Much like meals, it is just as important to provide your child with a variety of healthy snack options that are limited on added sugars. Having your home stocked with healthy snacks decreases the likelihood of your child binge eating an entire pack of cookies.
6. Create an Organized Learning Space
Provide your child with an organized space to do schoolwork. It is easy for children to get distracted from their homework if they are at the kitchen table with clutter and conversation surrounding them. Having a clean, organized, and clutter-free area for your child to work encourages focus and efficiency. This area could even include supplies your child may need such as pencils, paper, a calculator, etc.