Healthy tips for the new school year
Is Your Child Mentally and Physically Prepared for “Back to School?”
For the last two or three months your child has been out of school and on summer break. Now it’s time to go back. No more staying up late, sleeping past noon, eating everything in sight all throughout the day or vegging out in front of the television or video screen. Yes, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. But, after such an extended time away from the daily grind of getting up early, eating breakfast on time, spending 7 or 8 hours learning, participating in any extra-curricular activities, completing homework and studies and getting to bed at a decent time, achieving a sense of normalcy can be very challenging.
As parents, we need to ensure our kids have the study essentials to gear up for class, but most importantly, we need to help them transition to being mentally and physically prepared for the new school year. Mental preparedness is needed for the rigors of school. It will help reduce stress levels and get your student well on their way to a successful school year. Hopefully your child has remained school ready during the summer, but if not, it is a good idea to start getting them back on track about two weeks prior to the start of school. Have them increase their reading and practice math facts, review text books prior to start of class and write a list of items they want to improve upon from last year.
During the summer months is usually the best time to take care of your child’s physical needs such as annual physicals, eye exams and dental check-ups. The annual physical will ensure your child’s medical records and vaccinations are up to date, and there are no health issues to be concerned about.
Eye exams are important since poor vision can sometimes go unnoticed. Some kids may hide vision problems for fear of having to wear glasses. So, if you see your child squinting a lot or making their way closer to read, then get their vision checked. Ignoring this could result in constant headaches and the inability to learn.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning.
Two other very important needs to ensure your student is physically ready to go back to school include adequate sleep and a daily healthy balanced breakfast. To get your child’s body used to school schedule and ensure he or she is well rested, gradually adjust the sleep schedule for a period prior to the start of school. Setting the alarm clock a little earlier than usual will help them wake up with ease and allow time for a healthy balanced breakfast. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground and have better concentration, problem-solving skills and eye-hand coordination.
Prepare your home
Here’s one final tip that some might not think a lot about. Be sure to create a safe, healthy, non-toxic study environment for your children. While chemicals in everyday cleaners clean, disinfect and shine, many also contribute to indoor air pollution, are poisonous if ingested and can be harmful if inhaled or touched. In fact, indoor air quality is two to five times worse than outside due in part to the cleaning products we use. Since kids can spend 90 percent of their time indoors and breathe more air than adults do, they are especially vulnerable to the effects of indoor environmental pollutants.
Did you know that the average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals? We’re exposed to them routinely and they vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute or immediate hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes or chemical burns, while others are associated with diagnosis of asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity. Therefore, a healthy school and home environment is critical. We as parents have little to no control over the school environment, but we can ensure a safer, healthier, non-toxic environment at home. Choosing to clean our homes with safer for your home solutions allows us to control what our kids put on, in and around their bodies to keep them safe and healthy.