As children start heading back to school, here are some key tips that will help keep them safe and healthy throughout the school year.
1 Sleep habits
A lack of sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in all grades, even including college. Children need a consistent bedtime routine, and turning off all electronics will help enforce it. Young children should get 10-12 hours of sleep per night, and teenagers should strive for 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
2 Backpack guidelines
A heavy backpack can strain your child’s neck, back and shoulders and can lead to back pain and poor posture. Make sure your child’s backpack has a padded back and wide, padded shoulder straps, and doesn’t weigh more than 20% of the child’s weight.
3 Street smarts
Remind young children to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it. Go over the rules about crossing a street (looking both ways before crossing).
4 After dark
Consider adding reflective tape to your child’s coat or backpacks to increase their visibility to drivers – especially important as the days get shorter and they’re out-of-doors when it’s dark.
5 Food facts
Kids who eat a filling, nutritious breakfast function better in school.
Research what foods are available in the school cafeteria and help your child make healthy choices. If your child brings lunch from home, plan ahead and opt for healthy lunch items such as fruits, lean protein and vegetables.
Have healthy snacks available when your child come home from school. String cheese, fruit and vegetable sticks are good options.
Michelle Zettergren is President of MagnaCare, a leading PPO in the New York tri-state area that is proud to have been providing health plans to the Labor community for more than 25 years. Learn about MagnaCare at www.magnacare.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.