Thu | Feb 2, 2023

Health tips for back-to-school success

Published:Wednesday | January 4, 2023 | 12:32 AM

With a brand new school term just around the corner, chances are you have already stocked up on school supplies for your children, but there is more you can do to help them prepare. Establishing a few healthy habits now can help ease their transition back to the classroom.

To have a great school year, kids need to stay healthy. Healthy students are better learners.

Germs are everywhere. Touch a surface where germs are lurking, then touch your face, and you can get sick.

It does not have to be that way. Handwashing with soap and water is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of colds, flu, and other diseases to others. Parents, teachers, and informed students can teach proper handwashing so people don’t pass germs or illnesses to others.

At school, it is important for students to wash their hands before eating, after using the toilet, and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing. Handwashing also helps keep students, their families, and school staff healthy, so that they do not miss school or work.

Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for children. Nearly one in five children are obese, putting them at risk for asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Children with obesity are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.

Did you know that being physically active can help reduce anxiety, and even help with a child’s focus in school? The time children spend watching television, playing video games, and surfing the Web is time they could be physically active. Experts recommend children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day before, during, and after school; running, walking, and playing sports all count.

Relaxation, exercise, nutrition and sleep, also known as the ‘four pillars of health’, work together to keep your mind and body healthy. Ignoring one could impact your ability to sustain the others. The more we balance the four pillars within our lives, the better our chances of feeling good in the long run.

While calories in drinks are not exactly hidden (they are listed right on the Nutrition Facts label), many people do not realise just how many calories are in the beverages they drink. Here is the good news: water is a great, no-calorie, low-cost substitute for sugary drinks. Drinking plenty of water every day is a great habit to establish for a lifetime.

Plan ahead! As children head back to school, it is important to have a written emergency care plan and to practise that plan as often as needed. The plan should include any medicines your child needs to take or any assistive devices used by your child, such as a motorised wheelchair or assistive communication device. Having conversations now with your child’s teacher about being prepared in an emergency can help reduce your concerns if an emergency does happen.

Most importantly, take your cues from your children’s feelings and fears, and give them the support they need to feel ready for their big day back.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com

SOURCE: Ministry of Health and Wellness