NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Not only do you need new clothes and athletic gear for back to school, but you need to be physically ready with your health and well-being too.
According to Essentia Health, there are several tips for having a healthy start to the school year.
“We know heading back to school is a busy time for families,” said Dr. Tanya Diegal, division chair of primary care at Essentia. “And while school supplies can feel like the most pressing task, we want to encourage parents to think about their child’s wellness, from scheduling that check-up to getting back into a sleep routine, knowing this can also equip your child to step confidently into the new year.”
So, what can parents do for their child’s health before school starts this week?
They can check in with their pediatrician or family medicine provider and schedule a well-child/teen visit. They are an opportunity to go over the child’s health in growth, cognitive, and social development, illness prevention, mental health, and more.
Parents can also get their kids back into a routine, especially after a long summer without one. Kids need to reset their biological clocks, and sleep is super important in order to feel rested and ready for the school day.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, kids and teens should have a consistent bedtime routine that limits electronics and having a quiet, dark, and slightly cool room. Reading can help with that transition.
Kids should also wake up at the same time each morning, including on weekends to keep that routine, and they should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep.
Parents should also encourage and prioritize good nutrition, as maintaining a healthy weight is important.
According to the CDC, nearly one in five kids are obese, and that puts them at risk for asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
A healthy diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy, lean meats, and oils in controlled portions. There should be limited amounts of saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium.
Parents should make sure their kids are up to date on their immunizations.
If kids are playing sports, they need to have sports physicals before that sport begins. A form needs to be filled out, you can find that here.
Parents can also be a partner in their kid’s education, this is done by “adolescent connectedness.”
According to the CDC, that refers to a child’s sense of belonging, of being cared for and supported by parents, teachers, and other important people.
The connection that kids feel from school and family has an influence on their lives, which continues into adulthood.
Parents should also keep a line of communication with their children and be active in their education. Parents can connect with teachers about strengths, weaknesses, preferred learning styles, and other issues that could impact them at school.
Parents can always follow up with their doctor who can screen for mental health concerns, and other matters like substance abuse, proper dieting, and sexual health.