By: Melinda Parker, School Nurse
Healthy Habits for a Healthy School Year
Amid the excitement of getting back to school and transitioning back into the craziness known as the “school year routine”, it is a perfect time for families to take the opportunity to work in (or get back to) healthy habits. There are several healthy habits for back to school that you can use all year round for every member of your family.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the hours listed below by age group for how much sleep should be had each day.
- Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range is 14-17 hours
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range is 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range is 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range is 10-13 hours
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range is 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range is 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range is 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours
Sleep is so important and is something that we as parents need to protect for our children as well as we can. Sleep helps your brain work properly, plays an important role in your child’s physical growth and development and aids in you functioning well overall in every aspect of your life throughout the day. So let’s do our best to help our children get those much needed “zzzz’s”!
Preventing the Spread of Germs
Coming back to school always brings with it those pesky germs that cause colds, stomach bugs, the dreaded flu and other illnesses. Hand washing is key to keeping those troublesome germs out of our homes. Have your child wash his/her hands when they arrive home, before meals and after using the restroom. Also, children should cough into their elbow or a tissue. Keeping hands away from their faces and out of their mouths is also an important key to keeping our children illness free.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” We have all heard this phrase over and over again, but it’s true! Breakfast gives your child’s brain a boost to start off a fun filled day of learning. Eating a healthy lunch and dinner is good for them (and the entire family) also. The My Plate website is a great resource for ideas on healthy meals and also what the daily recommendations for each food group are. Staying hydrated is important too! Be sure that your child is drinking plenty of water during the day and staying away from this sugary drinks that are oh so tasty but not exactly good for them.
Sometimes getting active after a long day of work is the last thing we as parents want to do with our children. Sitting in front of the tv or tablet seems so much easier. But getting active can give us the extra boost of afternoon/evening energy we need to make it to bedtime. It also does wonders for our children when it comes time to falling asleep after a long day of learning and fun. It can be as simple as taking a walk, riding a bike, playing some soccer in the backyard, throwing a ball or even having a dance party in the kitchen while dinner is cooking. There is always some way that we can get active with our children.
Implementing these healthy habits into your daily lives will help you and your child transition smoothly from summertime fun to classroom success!