5 ways for your kids to stay healthy – number 4 will surprise you!
We all know that the most affordable investment in health is preventative health. Preventive health care measures that you can do today can result in lower care costs to you – and avoid unpleasant and expensive future health consequences for your kids. Especially with kids in school, parents want to do everything they can to keep their family healthy.
Sick children are straining school nurses and creating tough decisions for parents, who worry about children missing instruction and balancing job demands with childcare (1). Read more below about 5 ways to keep your children healthy in school.
1) Make sure they get adequate sleep.
A consistent bedtime routine is important to your child's health. Children in kindergarten through grade six should get between nine and 11 hours of sleep. Sleep quality is directly associated with behavior, eating habits, and the ability to fight off infections. Lack of sleep increases cravings for junk food and often results in mood swings, temper tantrums, and an increased risk of infection.
2. Help them exercise daily.
Help your child get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. This will help them:
- Sleep better
- Fight off infection
- Be healthier overall
- Improve their behavior
- Manage stress better
- Improve performance at school
3. Have them wash their hands reduce the spread of germs.
Teach your child to sing the happy birthday song twice (about 20 seconds) while washing. Make sure your child has hand sanitizer when hand washing isn't possible. Teach them to keep their hands away from their face and to cough or sneeze into their arm or shoulder.
4. Help your child deal with stress and anxiety.
School, sports, and social media can all be sources of stress and anxiety for your child. Monitor their social media use and keep the communication lines open so you can identify bullying or other sources of stress or anxiety at school.
5. Make sure they practice healthy eating habits.
Promote your child's health with a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with adequate hydration throughout the day.
- A healthy breakfast that includes protein, dairy, and whole grains is directly correlated to positive behaviors throughout the day and improves your child's ability to focus and concentrate
- A nutritious lunch includes lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
- Top off the day with a family dinner. Mealtimes spent with family promote better health and well-being. It can help prevent fatigue, improve mood, aid digestion and weight maintenance, and improve brain function
- Promote healthy drink choices. Limit or eliminate sugar-sweetened and caffeinated beverages. Caffeine can increase your child's heart rate and blood pressure, interrupt sleep and cause nervousness and irritability .
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(1) Suzi/Shutterstock, Aleksandra. “How Sick Is Too Sick for School? RSV, Flu and Colds Strain Parents and School Nurses.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 21 Nov. 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-sick-is-too-sick-for-school-rsv-flu-and-colds-strain-parents-and-school-nurses-11668999005.