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Back to School, Back to Healthy

6 Back to School Tips to Keep your Kids in A+ Shape

Back to school unfortunately also means back to germs! Changing weather and lots of time spent with other kids gives germs the opportunity to spread. Keep your kids healthy and arm them with a good immune system, not just hand sanitizer!

Everything you need to know about preventing and dealing with back-to-school worries. From illness like colds and the flu, to anxiety and bedtime routines. Here’s some insight on what you need to know as a parent and tips to make it happen.

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1. Establish a bedtime routine. This will help ensure they’re getting enough sleep. When they’re rested, they’ll be able to fight off sickness, focus better in school, and perform better outside of the classroom. How much sleep is enough? Check out this article from the National Sleep Foundation.

2. Pack healthy lunches and snacks, and don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason! Choose something that’s full of whole grains, fiber and protein, and lower in added sugar. Sugary cereals and bars will just spike their insulin and energy, only to have it crash later. Eating properly throughout the day will boost kids’ attention span, concentration and memory. Teach them to “eat the rainbow” of colorful veggies and fruits. Check out this article for tips on how to get them to eat their veggies so it’s not a constant battle.

3. Remind young kids of hygiene rules. Hand washing is one of the easiest, most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Always wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom and after playing outside. Remind kids to cover their mouths and noses with their arm (not their hands) and use tissue when coughing or sneezing. Also, remind your kids that some things shouldn’t be shared, like hair brushes, hair ties, helmets and hats. This will help prevent the spread of lice and other bugs.

4. Do your research about the flu vaccine. While the flu vaccine doesn’t guarantee protection from the flu, as the virus strains change year to year, it may be effective for at-risk populations like people with chronic medical conditions. However, the flu vaccine remains a controversial topic regarding its risks and efficacy. Bottom line, do you research and decide what’s right for you and your family. The best natural protection against the flu and other viruses? A healthy diet and vitamin supplements. If nothing else, making sure your Vitamin D intake is adequate is the best action you can take to help strengthen immune function.

5. Stay home or tough it out? If your kids do get sick, it’s hard to decide whether to send them to school or keep them home. Know the difference between the flu and a cold. The flu usually hits fast and hard. Symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees, headache, congestion, nausea or vomiting, and body aches. If you suspect the flu, keep them home until they are symptom-free for 24 hours. A cold typically starts with a sore throat, accompanied with sniffling, sneezing or coughing. Symptoms usually subside within a week, so send them to school and ask the nurse to check on them.

6. Stay organized and stress-free. Make sure your kids have a schedule so you can keep them on track between homework, after-school activities and sports. And don’t overschedule them! Down time to relax with the family and their friends is important for keeping balance and reducing anxiety. Reduced anxiety means better sleep and better immune systems!

At the Wyckoff Y, we’re committed to keeping you and your kids healthy and happy. We’re offering flu vaccines on Saturday, Oct 15th, 9am-12pm YMCA Lobby and Thursday, Oct 20th, 5-7pm Lower Level (PR4). For more information, click here.

By: Tracy L. Nieradka