Keeping Kids Healthy for Back to School
The new school year brings a lot of challenges. A new classroom, new teachers, new kids, and all new stresses. But there are things you can do as a parent to help keep your kid healthy.
To keep your kids healthy, make sure that they eat nutritious foods. Encourage them to get lots of exercise. Plus, keep them up-to-date on the latest health guidelines.
How Can You Keep Your Kids Fit & Active?
To stay healthy, kids need at least 60-minutes of physical activity every day. That may seem like a lot, but they’re getting a lot of physical activity at school through gym class and recess. So, you might just need to give a little push to make sure your child gets their full 60-minutes.
There are so many ways that you can get your kid to be more active, and you can take part with them. Here are a few great ways for your child to be more active throughout the day:
- Take the dog for a walk
- Walk or bike to/from school
- Morning stretches
- Performing small dances while getting ready for school
- Playing on a sports team
- Recreational after-school programs like swimming or karate
- Playing outside with friends or family
- Use commercial breaks as a quick way to get in a short exercise
How To Prepare A Healthy Packed Lunch
When your child gets a delicious and nutritious meal, they’re going to learn better. Their focus and attention improves which boosts their performance. They’re also less likely to get sick since healthy foods boost immune health.
To start the day off right, make sure that your child receives a nutritious breakfast. It’ll give them energy and the ability to focus to start the day off right. For the best results, make sure their breakfast contains lots of protein.
You can also check the lunch schedule ahead of time. Most schools send a lunch calendar home. You’ll know which meals are coming up. So, you can choose when you’d like to pack for your child versus having them eat the school lunch.
If you choose to pack your child’s lunch, try to pick healthier options. Do you have a picky eater? Try to introduce them to the rainbow of foods. Have them try a new “color” every week, and they should find a whole bunch of foods they enjoy.
For a healthy, nutritious meal, try these tips:
- Half of your child’s meals should consist of fruits and vegetables
- Water and low-fat milk are better options than soda or high-sugar fruit juices
- Have them eat whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread
- Switch up the proteins every day — seafood, beans, meats, poultry, beans, lentils, nuts, and eggs are all good sources
Make Sure Your Kids Stay Hydrated
Hydration is just as important as eating a healthy meal. Dehydration causes headaches, sleepiness, and lightheadedness. Not only will this affect their learning, but it’s dangerous.
Children ages four to seven need to drink about five cups of milk and water every day. Children over the age of eight should drink about eight cups of milk and water a day.
Keeping Their Packed Lunch Contamination-Free
Kids are even more susceptible to food-borne illnesses than adults. So, it’s important to know how to properly pack your kid’s lunch.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that you clean and sanitize all containers and utensils used for your child’s lunches.
Cross-contamination is a big problem in people’s homes. It’s best if you can sanitize each area and utensil before beginning prep on your kid’s lunch. You can even use different colored cutting boards to prepare different food groups.
Also, make sure that your child has an insulated bag or lunch box with ice packs. It only takes about two hours for perishable food to go bad at room temperature. An insulated lunch box and ice packs ensures that your kid is receiving fresh, healthy food.
How To Stay Up-To-Date On The Latest Health Protocols
It’s more important than ever to make sure that your kids are up-to-date on all their vaccines. If eligible, every child should receive a vaccination against meningitis, tetanus, measles, the flu, and Covid-19.
Making sure that your child is fully-vaccinated is the best way to prevent your child, and other’s children, from becoming ill.
How To Teach Your Kids To Be Active Participants In Their Health
Remind your kids that they play an active role in staying healthy. Teach them how to properly wash their hands and when to do it. Apply soap to the hands for a full 20 seconds before rinsing with warm water. If they’re using hand sanitizer, they should rub it into their hands until dry.
Make sure that your child knows to cover their cough and sneeze. They should blow their germs into their elbow rather than their hands.
Remind them not to reuse or hold onto tissues. Once they use a tissue, teach them to throw it away immediately. Lingering tissues are a health hazard to your child and everyone around them.
Emphasize the importance of not touching their face. Most people touch their face about 23 times an hour! But, we are also constantly touching germs and disgusting things that don’t belong on our face. Encourage your children to keep their hands away from their mouth, nose, and eyes.
“Sharing is caring”, but in the era of Covid-19, it’s not always a good idea. Children should avoid sharing things like crayons, markers, or scissors which transfer germs.
When your child is healthy and feeling good, they’ll be a better learner. It’s hard to pay attention when you’re not feeling good. Do your child, and yourself a favor by helping your child to stay happy and healthy this upcoming school year.