Start the School Year Off Strong & Healthy - PIH Health

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Published on August 02, 2016

Help Your Child Start the School Year Off Strong & Healthy

school bus

school busIn a kid’s world, the start of a new school year marks the time of new beginnings – new teachers, new subjects, new friends and new stressors. The following tips can help parents make sure that children are not only ready to hit the ground running when that first school bell rings, but that they can do so in a healthy way.

  • Backpacks: When shopping for a backpack, make sure style doesn’t override comfort. Schools require more books than ever and hauling them around can lead to back pain. Find a backpack that disperses the load. Two padded straps balance the weight between both shoulders. The bag should sit one to two inches below the shoulder and no more than a few inches below the waistline. A waist strap can further ease back tension by diverting the weight to the stomach and hip muscles.
  • Lunch: Meals brought from home can be healthier than cafeteria food, but that depends on what you pack and what your kids actually eat. Getting kids involved in selecting and preparing lunches can make them more likely to eat what is packed. Spend some time shopping for food together and then plan and prepare lunches with the kids. Talk about the importance of making healthy choices, and show them how eating healthy can be delicious and fun. Cut fruit and veggies into shapes, make your own trail mix and add stickers to sandwich bags.
  • Sleep: The unstructured schedule of summer quickly turns into early mornings and busy afternoons filled with activities once school begins. Before the first day of school, start getting your kids used to a consistent bedtime schedule that provides them with enough sleep each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most kids come up as much as two hours short on sleep each day.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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