Published monthly in The Marysville Advocate, "To Your Health" articles provide information about health and wellness topics.
Have a healthy back-to-school, August 2018
After a long summer break, it's time for the kids to head back to school and focus on classes, sports and other after-school activities.
But as you get adjusted to the first month of school, it's a good idea to take a couple of precautionary measures to set them up for a safe, healthy year.
Here are our top five back-to-school health tips to consider.
1. Get vaccinated
The entire family should be up-to-date on vaccinates as early as possible in the school year. Talk to your doctor or take our Child or Adult Vaccination quizzes at www.cmhcare.org to find out which vaccines may still be needed, and consider getting the flu vaccine, too. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.
2. Set bedtimes
It's essential for kids (and adults!) to get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused throughout the day. Although sleep requirements vary somewhat among individuals, most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night, and children and adolescents typically need ten to 13 hours. To get your kids ready to wake up earlier for school, consider making their bedtimes a little earlier each night for a week or two before school starts.
3. Teach good hygiene habits
With so many people around, germs are bound to be lurking in classrooms. To help your kids avoid getting sick and prevent them from bringing germs home, it's important to show them how to protect themselves. Teach them to wash their hands after using the restroom and before going to lunch or eating a snack. You should also instruct them not to share food or drinks with other kids.
4. Stock up on healthy foods
A healthy diet is critical for focus at school, and junk foods don't fit into the equation. Stock up on healthy breakfast items, from whole grain toast and peanut butter to yogurt and berry parfaits, so your little ones can head out the door with a full stomach. When it comes to lunches, prepping the night before is your safest bet to avoid a hectic morning and a less-than-healthy brown bag. The tried and true sandwich can be kicked up a notch with whole grain breads and healthy fillers like tuna, egg salad or turkey breast. Swap out mayo for spreads like hummus, guacamole or honey mustard. Think beyond the bread, with nutritious wraps, hardboiled eggs, quesadillas and more. And whatever you pack as the main course, accompany it with bite-size fruits and veggies for good measure.
5. Manage stress
Back-to-school season is stressful for kids and parents alike, but too much stress can lead to a variety of health issues, like insomnia and sluggish immune systems. Help manage stress by talking to your children about anything that's bothering them, andtake care not to overload anyone's schedule, including your own. Schoolwork and after-school activities are important, but it's also essential to take time to relax, play and spend time as a family.