Hendricks Regional Health Blog

Healthy + Focused = School Success

Posted by: Jenny Bates   |   Friday, July 26, 2013   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog

back to school checklist, back-to-school, child health, child health back to school, school checklist, school shopping

Summer’s winding down and parents are scrambling to take inventory of what the kids need for school.

As a mom to three, I understand this is a whirlwind time for families. That’s why I put together this Back-to-School Health Checklist to help keep your little student healthy and well – all year long.  

Purchase a backpack that fits appropriately
Proper posture and appropriate backpack weight are the two most important factors parents should consider. Helpful hints:

  • Be sure the pack sits evenly on the back, so the weight is distributed among the body’s strongest muscles.
  • Messenger-style or sling backpacks are not ideal for good backpack posture.
  • Select a backpack with two wide, padded shoulder straps  – students should use both straps to evenly distribute the backpack’s weight.
  • Avoid overloading by ensuring pack doesn’t weigh more than 10 percent of your child’s body weight.

Plan healthy lunches
Providing nutritious lunches and snacks is an important way to give your kids the healthy foundation they need to achieve their goals both in and out of the classroom. Tips to keep your menus fresh:

  • Add some jazz with new fruits, vegetables and other healthy options.
  • Beat sandwich boredom by trying whole grain version of crackers, pitas or bagels with healthy spreads like apple butter, hummus or pizza sauce with mozzarella.
  • Wrap it up with a whole-grain tortilla filled with chicken, tuna, egg salad or sliced veggies with cheese.
  • Go fresh with frozen berries, melon or banana slices, half a hard-boiled egg, snack kebobs (raw veggies or fruit on a pretzel stick).

Review handwashing techniques
The start of a new school year is an excellent time to review proper hand hygiene steps:

1. Wash hands with running water and soap.
2. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds.
3. Scrub your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
4. Leave water running while you dry your hands on a paper towel.
5. Use paper towel as a barrier between the faucet and clean hands when you turn off the water.
6. If you are using a public restroom, use the paper towel to open the door.

Keep ‘em moving

Ways to encourage physical activity:

  • Take a vacation from the media. Unplug the television, internet and video games.
  • Become a great role model. Exercise regularly yourself -- or better yet, exercise with your kids.
  • Launch a family fitness program. Hold a family meeting to brainstorm and choose fitness activities.
  • Throw a sports party, enroll in community sports programs or arrange for biking outings or vigorous playground games.

Protect them with a flu shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu shot for all children 6 months and older. Kids should be vaccinated as soon as flu vaccine becomes available in our community.

Embrace the family dinner table
The dinner table is a great place to help your kids feel heard, protected and supported. *In fact, a series of studies recently showed that teens who don’t eat dinner with their family five to seven times a week are twice as likely to have used alcohol. Eating together as a family is a great habit for all families to strive for throughout the school year and beyond.

*Source: "Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy" by David Sheff.

~Jenny Bates

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