It’s hard to believe summer is drawing to an end and kids are already heading back to school. Here are a few tips to help prepare your child for a healthy and successful school year.
Be involved. Parents who are active in their children’s education can have a very positive impact on their success in school. Ways to get involved include:
- Talk to your child about their classes.
- Meet their teachers and school administrators.
- Get to know other parents.
- Go to school events.
- Volunteer to help in the classroom.
Stick to a routine. Having the same bedtime and wake-up time every day will help your kids get a better night’s sleep. And remember to build in enough time for a healthy balanced breakfast to get their day started right.
Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar may boost kids’ attention span, concentration, and memory-which they need to learn in school.
Get up-to-date on shots. Vaccines help your child, and those around them, to stay healthy.
Pack smart. Make sure your child’s backpack never weighs more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight. Heavy packs can strain developing muscles and joints.
Encourage your child to use both straps, and tighten them so the pack hangs close to the body, about two inches above your child’s waist.
Be organized. Get a calendar for your refrigerator or wall to keep track of things like:
- After school activities
- Sporting events
- Project due dates
- Teacher meetings
- Doctor visits and more!
Each week, review your calendar together to stay on top of upcoming events.
Read together. Get your child excited about new subjects by reading together for 20 minutes a day. Visit your local library to check out age-appropriate books that interest your kids—all for free!
Designate a study area. Set up a special, quiet and safe place that’s just for school work.
Cook healthy meals. Kids who eat regular, healthy meals often do better in school. Try to incorporate the following food groups into their daily diet.
- Protein: lean meats, seafood, poultry, eggs, beans, soy products and unsalted nuts/ seeds
- Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, and citrus
- Vegetables: red, orange and green leafy items, plus beans and peas
- Grains: whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pastas and rice
- Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy products
Also, try to sit down to eat together as a family every night. It’s a great time to catch up after a busy day and enjoy a relaxing, healthy meal!
Partnering with your child to get organized, involved and healthy will make for a successful and memorable school year.
Kirsten Baker is a registered nurse at the Florida Blue Center in Sarasota at UTC where she teaches free health and wellness classes that are open to the public in addition to providing health coaching and assessments.