Summer is basically over, and the new school year is just about here (if it isn’t here already). It’s time to pick up some school supplies, figure out your daily schedule, and get your kids on the right track for academic success.
But if your kids are going to succeed in school, they must be healthy and safe. In this blog, your Fort Collins pharmacy team at Good Day Pharmacy will give you a few tips for starting the school year off right with healthy habits for the whole family!
The beginning of the school year is the best time to get vaccinated—especially if your school or school district requires it. Your kids will need to get caught up on all the vaccinations recommended by your doctor, so plan ahead and spread them out or knock them out all at once. But this isn’t just a great time for kids to get vaccinated. You and your spouse must keep up on vaccinations (or at least your flu shot)—so why not make vaccinations a family affair?
If your child is afraid of needles and grows anxious every time they hear about vaccinations, joining them in their pain and misery could help them deal better with the process (just don’t let them know you’re also afraid of needles yourself). It’s also helpful to motivate your child by telling them you’ll buy them a toy or take them to get ice cream after the vaccinations are complete—this is probably the most effective way to get children to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Start your day the right way.
Adjusting to a school schedule where you and your child have to wake up early can be difficult, if not frustrating for all parties—after all, nobody wants to give up those precious summer mornings meant for sleeping in. But your child must go to school, and you must take them—so make mornings productive and enjoyable to jumpstart your child’s school day.
A worry-free morning always starts with a strict bedtime, so make sure you and your child are in bed at a reasonable time so you feel awake and refreshed the next day. Next, cook or prepare a healthy breakfast for the both of you—a mix of protein, healthy fats, and some carbs will give your child the energy to power through their schoolwork until lunchtime. Finally, place your daily belongings like backpacks, lunch bags, car keys, purses, and jackets in the same place the night before you go to school. There’s nothing more stressful than searching for your keys or looking for matching socks when you’re already running late.
Teach your child good hygiene habits.
It doesn’t matter what kind of school your child goes to—put hundreds of kids together in a confined space, and you’re going to create a hotbed for germs. Germs are lurking all over water fountains, door handles, staplers, and faucets in the school environment—so if you want to prevent your kids from getting sick (and ultimately making you sick in the process) you’ll need to teach your child some quality hygiene and wellness habits. Your child should be washing their hands after using the restroom and before they eat lunch or have a snack, and they should never share drinks or food with their classmates. If your child does get sick, keep them at home, especially if their illness is potentially contagious. You wouldn’t want your child to infect all of their classmates with strep throat, hand-foot-in-mouth disease, or any other virus of the day.
Send your kid to school with healthy foods.
As a parent, it can be very convenient to send your kids through the hot lunch line or to pack them some Lunchables for the week. Unfortunately, your convenience does not align with your child’s physical and cognitive development.
Proper nutrition through a balanced diet is hugely important for your child’s physical growth, brain development, academic performance, and overall health. Your child requires a higher caloric intake than you do because of their higher metabolic rate, so feed them a healthy balance of protein, complex carbs, and fruits and vegetables by the boatload.
Using refreezable ice packs to keep produce cool can help your child eat healthy throughout the day to keep their metabolism rolling and their brains focused on schoolwork. It doesn’t have to be inconvenient—things like veggie packs, apples, and hard-boiled eggs can make eating healthy easy and fun!
Don’t overload your child.
It’s important to keep your kids active and involved in after-school activities, no matter if they’re kindergarteners or seniors in high school. However, it’s also important that your child doesn’t feel overwhelmed by all the activities that have going on during their day. Children need to relax just like adults do—they need to decompress, let their minds wander, and have an hour or two everyday to play at their own leisure, relax, or do nothing in particular. Free time allows kids to explore their own minds and enhance their creativity—if they spend their days hopping from school to study hall to soccer practice, they won’t have much time to explore their creative potential and to achieve a relaxed and peaceful mental state.
Help your child manage stress.
Parents can be stressed at work for a variety of reasons. Fatigue, social problems, and piled up work can lead to increased stress that can cause physical health issues like insomnia and a weakened immune system. Kids work the exact same way. If something is stressing your child out at school—like too much homework, a bully, or a mean teacher—it can affect their physical health. These things must be discussed with your child so you can find solutions or help your child work past them. This will help them feel more confident and do better in school, but most of all, it will help them stay healthy throughout the school year.