Healthy Back to School Habits for Parents & Kids
Heading back to school is always an exciting time for children and their families. This year is particularly exciting as we’ve all been studying and working from home for many months. To help kids have a great year ahead of them, it’s a good idea to take some precautions and build healthy habits. Healthy kids learn better and enjoy their time more than those that fall sick often.
So what are some habits families can build upon to boost strong and healthy school children? We’ve outlined some precautions you can take along with some tips that will help your little ones stay well this school year. Keep reading to learn more!
Social Distancing and Mask Wearing
Unfortunately, children under the age of twelve are still not able to get vaccinated and are at risk of catching COVID-19. To reduce this risk, it’s important to teach children how to socially distance and wear masks whenever appropriate. To learn more about CDC guidance for K-12 school children please click here.
Encourage Proper Handwashing
As we’ve all learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, washing our hands regularly is quite important for our well-being. There are germs on all kinds of surfaces that can easily transfer from our hands to our faces and make us sick. Thankfully, washing our hands with soap and water is a great way to get rid of these unwanted germs and reduce the chances of catching an illness.
Here are some handwashing tips for kids:
- Use warm water and lots of soap
- Lather up to the lower arms, between fingers, and under the nails for 20 seconds (teach them a little song to sing for 20 seconds)
- Rinse with clean, warm water
- Dry the hands thoroughly with paper towels
Kids that wash their hands more often are less likely to catch or spread the common cold, flu, and other diseases. Take the time to teach your child how to properly wash their hands and the appropriate times at which to do so. This includes before eating, after going to the bathroom, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.
Watch the Sugary Beverages
You may be surprised to learn how much sugar can be hidden in common children’s drinks. In fact, sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in children’s diets. Today, the average child drinks more than thirty gallons of sugary drinks every year! This can include sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas, sweet teas, and fruity drinks. Unfortunately, all this sugar consumption can cause real health problems in kids such as excessive weight gain, tooth decay, and obesity.
Keep an eye on what your child consumes at school and offer them healthier drink options that aren’t loaded with sweet stuff. Over time, this can help prevent an enormous amount of sugar from entering their bodies.
Choose a Good Backpack
It might not cross your mind, but these days kids can have pretty heavy backpacks. For this reason, it’s important to choose a good backpack that ensures kids are comfortable and pain-free every day at school. Make sure to adjust the backpack properly and teach your child how to wear their backpack the right way to prevent any back problems.
Here are some tips for proper backpack use:
- Always use both shoulder straps
- Adjust shoulder straps so the backpack is high on the back and straps are comfy on the shoulders
- Waist straps can be helpful to distribute weight across the hips
- Place heavy items close to the back
- The backpack should never weigh more than 10% of the child’s body weight.
If worn incorrectly, heavy backpacks can compress nerves and arteries in the neck and armpits, causing pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms.
As you can see, there are plenty of healthy habits that children and their families can build to have a great school year. Following these guidelines can help kids stay healthy and avoid germs that may keep them sick and at home. Reducing the chances of catching an illness helps kids thrive at school, miss fewer days of class, and lowers community spread.