As the school bells ring and the new year begins, make sure your child's health takes center stage. We've gathered medical expert insights on keeping your kids healthy as they head back to class.
Pack their lunch box with nutrients
Fuel your kiddo with healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Providing essential vitamins and minerals supports their growing bodies and minds. Rebecca Davis, MD of Family Medicine and Pediatrics at SCL Health Medical Group - Broomfield, suggested vegetables as a starting point. "Vegetables are a great source of nutrients," she said.
To make veggies exciting, try adding them into smoothies. “Incorporate kale or spinach, and call it a 'Monster' or 'Shrek Smoothie,’” said Dr. Davis. “You can also blend up vegetables and mix them into spaghetti sauce."
Choosing wholesome foods gives your child energy to excel in school and beyond.
Ensure restful sleep for bright minds
Establishing a solid bedtime routine is key to ensuring your child gets the rest they need. Miranda Edwards, MD of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at SCL Health Medical Group - Patterson, emphasized the importance of consistency. "A good bedtime routine is super important," she said.
A relaxing environment with dim lights and predictable activities helps your child develop a routine. “Their bodies recognize it’s time to calm down,” said Dr. Edwards.
A consistent sleep routine leads to quality sleep. Your kiddo’s restful nights will lead to productive school days.
Play for healthy mind and body
Physical activity doesn’t just help your child stay fit – it's also a powerful mental health tool. Jeffrey Richker, MD, a Pediatrics specialist with SCL Health Medical Group - Lafayette, encouraged its positive effects. "Doing something physical releases cortisol, which helps manage stress," he said.
Moving their bodies provides kids with outlets for energy and emotions. “Being physically active also gives the brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times,” said Dr. Richker.
Encourage your child to do activities they enjoy, like playing sports or dancing, to promote physical and mental well-being.
Shield them with immunizations
A while back we wrote about catching up on immunizations, and here’s a recap. Prioritizing vaccinations is a crucial step in safeguarding your child's health. Dr. Collette Chorney, a pediatrician at SCL Health Medical Group - Butte, stressed the importance of vaccinations for overall well-being. "When everyone is vaccinated, it helps prevent vaccine-preventable illnesses from spreading," she said.
Vaccinations not only protect your child, but also their peers. To stay on track, Dr. Chorney advised scheduling a yearly checkup to stay up-to-date on vaccines. “It also provides an opportunity to follow up on your child's overall health,” she said.
Your child’s regular immunizations contribute to a healthier school environment for everyone.
Address back-to-school jitters
Starting a new school year can bring about anxiety. Dr. Chorney encouraged open conversations with your child about their feelings and concerns. “Doing this provides parents an insight into their child’s thinking, helps address specific worries, and find ways to make that transition easier,” she said.
Dr. Chorney suggested creating a supportive environment while speaking positively about school. “Modeling that school is a good experience can help kids perceive it that way as well,” she said. “Find something they’re excited about when it comes to starting school.”
Addressing anxiety with open communication helps your kiddo start school feeling confident.
Incorporating these expert tips into your child's routine sets the stage for a successful and healthy school year. Remember, it's about creating habits that support their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. When those school bells ring, you can wave goodbye knowing you’ve set up their health for success.