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August 2019 Monthly Health Article
August 8, 2019
Healthy Habits to Ensure a Successful School Year for Kids
by Emily Jenkins, Primary Care Provider
When the days get shorter, it’s a good sign that another school year is just around the corner. As you begin to tackle your back-to-school to-do lists, we’ve got a few tips to help ensure that your family is ready for another successful and healthy school term.
Schedule annual physicals. The beginning of a new school year is a great time to schedule annual physical exams for your family. An annual physical exam is an important part of children’s healthcare, and the back-to-school period is an easy-to-remember time to go ahead and get it on your family’s schedule. Annual check-ups provide your child’s pediatrician the opportunity to do a full physical exam, confirm that vaccinations are up-to-date and answer any important questions you may have about your child’s health.
Create a healthy homework/study routine and environment. Completing homework assignments and setting aside dedicated time for studying for exams is a key factor in your child’s academic success during the school year. So helping them foster good study routines is essential. Creating a quiet, well-lit workspace; designating adequate homework time each afternoon or evening; setting aside electronic devices during this focused period; and ensuring your child takes periodic breaks to alleviate eye, neck and brain fatigue are all great tips for creating a healthy and successful study routine.
Plan weekday meals ahead. Thoughtfully planning out balanced meals for the week – and even pre-portioning out breakfasts and lunches – can help ensure your family is following healthy eating habits, eliminate the nightly guessing game of “What’s for dinner?” and free up evening hours for quality family time.
Sleep. Healthy sleeping habits are integral to your child’s overall wellness and ability to function optimally while in school. A lack of sleep can result in memory problems, difficulty focusing, weakening of the immune system, depression and even obesity. The amount of sleep your child needs can vary depending on a number of factors, but The American Academy of Sleep Medicine outlines these general guidelines:
- Children 3 to 5 years of age: 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
- Children 6 to 12 years of age: 9-12 hours per 24 hours
- Teens 13 to 18 years of age: 8-10 hours per 24 hours
Sleep is important for the health of parents too, so make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye as well!
Prevent the spread of germs. We all know that the school year can bring its share of colds, stomach bugs and the like. One of the easiest and best ways for you to help prevent the spread of germs is to promote hand-washing. Train your family members to wash their hands as soon as they arrive at home, and always wash your hands before meals.
By establishing and encouraging responsible routines and habits, you’ll be helping to create a healthy and successful school year for your family and your community.
If your family needs a primary care provider, Harris Regional Hospital can help. Call 844.414.DOCS (3627) to get connected with the right care for your family.