A child’s physical and mental health can affect their ability to learn. That’s why many parents worry about their children’s health when a new school year begins and wonder how best to reduce their kids’ sick days. This guide will show you how to ensure your kid stays healthy and happy during the school year.
1. Healthy Eating
Consciously practice healthy eating habits and make your kid see the importance of eating healthy. Healthy eating begins with a good breakfast that includes whole grains, proteins, and dairy ( if your little one isn’t allergic to it). Starting the day with a healthy diet is correlated to positive behaviors and can help improve your child’s ability to concentrate.
Your kid’s lunch should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, or other healthy alternatives that your kid enjoys. Remember, children love to snack. That’s why you should have a healthy after-school snack on standby to avoid opting for junk food when they get hungry before dinner.
When combined with healthy meals, snacks can help your kid get the nutrition they need. And spacing small snacks between meals helps build healthy eating habits because it reinforces the idea that kids should eat small meals when they’re hungry. Try to limit foods with trans fats and added sugars in your kid’s diet. You shouldn’t sacrifice good nutrition simply because junk food is within your reach. Healthy snacks can be just as quick and easy as processed ones.
2. Proper Hand Washing
Germs are one of the most common causes of illness among kids, especially in the classroom where kids mingle. But handwashing with water and soap for at least 20 seconds helps reduce the spread of illness-causing germs.
Ensure your child understands the importance of proper handwashing to reduce their risk of getting ill and infecting others. Your child should also know when to wash their hands – before eating, after using the bathroom, and after blowing their nose. They should also avoid rubbing their eyes and nose when they’re outside.
3. Proper Oral Health
Teach your kid to practice healthy oral habits such as brushing their teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and rinsing their mouth with water after eating or drinking. Rinsing encourages saliva flow and helps wash away food debris and bacteria. Offer your child fresh fibrous fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples. They help in scraping away plaque while kids eat them.
Also, schedule regular visits with a dentist. Before choosing a dentist for your child, confirm their credentials, read reviews, look for years of experience, and talk to other parents. That way, you’ll ensure your kid is with a capable professional. According to Dental Marketing Guy, a dental marketing company, ”Dental malpractice statistics show a growing trend in malpractice lawsuits. Patients can experience nerve damage, infections that may affect the brain, and other serious consequences.”
4. Adequate Sleep
Kids usually have a later bedtime during school breaks because of the sleepovers, camps, and vacations. They often find it difficult to readjust when school resumes. However, if they don’t get enough sleep, it could negatively affect their ability to focus in the classroom and learn. You can avoid this by helping them reset their sleep schedule ahead of going back to school.
Create a consistent bedtime routine like a bath, light playtime, teeth brushing, and a bedtime story before bed. If you do this consistently, your little one may automatically become sleepy at the beginning of the routine. Turn off the TV, computer, and phones at least two hours before bedtime. Limiting screen time helps prevent interference with melatonin production in your child’s body. Melatonin is a hormone that plays an essential role in our sleep-wake cycles.
5. Watch for Signs of Anxiety
Anxiety and stress can negatively impact your child’s health. As your child navigates another school year, things may seem very different from what they’re used to. They could face stressful situations like social pressures, tests, and homework. So, you should know how to spot signs of anxiety in your child and find ways to manage it.
You could work with your kid to identify factors in their life that are under their control and figure out ways to make them better. You can also encourage them to engage in activities to help them de-stress, such as reading age-appropriate storybooks, writing a journal, or playing a board game. Your goal shouldn’t be to eliminate your child’s anxiety by removing the stressors that trigger it but to help them manage anxiety and overcome it eventually.