It’s here at last! By now most of us have sent our kids back to school – either in person, virtually, or some sort of mix. This year is promising to be very different and full of changes. So as we all ride the roller coaster of uncertainty, here are a few tips to help keep your kids as healthy as possible as they return to a sort of normal routine.
Sleep is vital. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10-13 hours of sleep per 24 hours (including naps) for ages 3-5, 9-12 hours for ages 6-12, and 8-10 hours for teenagers. Without adequate sleep, the brain doesn’t have time to “clean up” from the previous day. Getting enough sleep can improve attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.
Nutrition is a key supporter of health – including immune system health. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains helps provide all the nutrients your child needs to be successful – mentally and physically. Avoiding processed foods and high sugar foods is directly associated with improved health.
Limiting Screen Time and pushing Outdoor time is also directly linked to healthy kids. An hour or less of screen time daily (stop laughing hysterically parents – this is outside of direct learning) and AT LEAST an hour of outdoor time are recommended. Sunlight and physical activity are excellent immune system supporters.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s an excellent place to start. Just remember that your habits affect your child’s habits, and you can be a great influence for your child in developing lifelong healthy habits.