Your Cheat Sheet for a Spectacular & Healthy School Year
Harbin Clinic physicians know that sticking to a school routine can be difficult for you and your child, especially taking mental and physical health concerns into account. And did you know research shows that healthier kids reach higher academic achievement? That’s why we’re sharing our cheat sheet to help you pass this season with flying colors. Here are some tips and tricks from pediatricians to parents to ensure your little ones perform their best for the rest of the school year.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, even 25 minutes of less sleep results in more inattentiveness in children, so ensuring your child receives enough sleep each night is crucial to their education. Sleeping boosts the immune system, regulates metabolism, recharges the system and lowers the chances of developing anxiety, depression and mood disorders. On average, this is the amount of sleep your child should be receiving each night:
– Under one year: 14-16 hours (can include naps)
– 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (can include naps)
– 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (can include naps)
– 6-12 years: 9-11 hours
– 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
Avoiding screen time, caffeine, sugar and snacks before bedtime can help your child fall asleep easier. If your little one has trouble getting up in the morning, try exposing them to natural light slightly before their usual wake-up time.
Schools can be a hot spot for spreading germs, so teaching your kids the importance of hygiene can help prevent those bugs. Sickness prevention can start at home by incorporating healthy foods into your child’s diet, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, staying hydrated and encouraging regular exercise. Always remind them of the importance of washing their hands with soap and water, and avoiding touching their eyes and nose with dirty hands. With flu season around the corner, make sure to schedule out those vaccine visits to keep your kids as protected as possible.
Socializing is vital for kids, and one way to make sure they’re getting the most out of school activities is by encouraging engagement.
According to the CDC, children who have parental and community engagement in their school activities are more likely to get better grades, choose healthier behaviors, and have better social skills.
Working with your child and school faculty can help keep a healthy and supportive environment for your child.
The school day offers several opportunities for your child to get their body moving, including walking or biking to school, school sports, intramural sports and after-school programs. Encouraging your child to explore these opportunities can lead to them finding an outlet to express themselves, like a sport or exercise. After-school physical activity can also improve your child’s concentration, memory and overall physical health.
Whether your child loves to pack their lunch or dig into school meals, the nutritional value of their food is a top priority for their growing minds and bodies. School meals are required to meet specific dietary regulations, including having enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while also cutting back on sodium and trans-fat. If your child prefers to bring lunch from home, make sure healthy choices and protein-packed foods accompany their favorite snacks.
Starting the day with a hearty meal can also support positive behaviors in your child. Studies show that students who eat breakfast at school are more likely to have better attendance, fewer skipped classes and better test scores. Eating breakfast daily is also associated with improved cognitive function and mood, so start your child’s morning off with the most important meal of the day.
Keeping up with a routine can be difficult for your child, so our physicians recommend supporting them in the best ways to make it as easy as A-B-C. Encouraging healthy eating, regular sleeping patterns, good hygiene, social engagement and physical activity can keep your bookworms in the right direction.
At Harbin Clinic Pediatrics, our physicians care for your child at every age and every stage. If you want to learn more about our pediatric services or make an appointment, you can visit Harbin Clinic Pediatrics.