Between school supplies, new clothing and classroom-friendly snacks—there is a lot that goes into making sure that your kids are ready for back to school. But after all of the shopping is done and the back to school pictures are taken, what are you doing to keep your children feeling their best while in class?
With the madness of Summer over and the development of more concrete routines, it’s time to start encouraging your kids to adopt healthier habits. Habits that will hopefully stay with them throughout their lives and keep them in tip-top shape so that they can get the most out of school!
Here are 7 key health aspects to consider for your child’s health!
- Backpacks: Most of us remember the struggle of carrying a backpack that was WAY too heavy for us. Experts suggest that the weight held by a backpack should not exceed 15% of a person’s body weight. This is especially important to remember for younger children! When we think about all the exciting things we want to give our child for their start of school, we should also, keep in mind the toll that all those supplies place on the child. To ensure that your child’s backpack is the appropriate weight; weigh your child and follow through with the equation. Do your best to invest in a good quality backpack that has lots of compartments so that the overall weight is well distributed. Encourage your child to wear their backpacks with both straps, as it may seem trendy (as it did back when we were students) to wear their backpacks hanging off one should but, this trend really isn’t ideal for posture.
- Sleep: A tale as old as time; children need to get enough sleep to function well! This applies both to young children and teenagers alike. It’s important to set your child up with a stable nighttime routine. This will help them both physically and mentally; consciously helping their bodies get ready to garner enough rest to be able to function at their fullest potential during the next day. If your child is one who likes to use electronics, try reducing their usage into the nighttime routine. If you find that halting electronic use past a certain hour in the evening isn’t ideal, there are other options at your disposal as well! Make sure that the brightness is turned down on their devices – certain devices even allow you to put your screen on night-mode which turns down blue ray light emission. In other cases, there are special blue ray lenses which block the emission of harsh lights from the screen and will help keep your child from being kept awake from the overstimulation caused by screen brightness. Overall, a goal parents should hold is to do their best to ensure that their children get eight hours of sleep each night.
- Water: One of the most important things you can pack in your child’s backpack is a water bottle. There are bottles that are equipped to keep liquid cold and those that have special compartments to infuse the water with fresh fruits for added flavor. Giving your child access to enough water is a great benefit to their overall health and wellness. It’s no secret that proper hydration helps the brain function at its full potential; your child will feel energized and clear-minded. Overall though, drinking water is a habit that needs to start at home. Make it a priority to encourage your family to drink water. I know it’s hard with all the seemingly appealing juice boxes that are on the market but, drinking water really is to the benefit of each and every child.
- Food Preparation: If you’ve ever felt like preparing lunches is a task, you are not alone! Sometimes it’s hard to remember how privileged we are that we don’t have to scavenge for our meals when we spend so much time walking through grocery aisles or reading through grocery lists. I know that often times food preparation can feel like more of a chore than something to look forward to and this is where the children come in! If we encourage our children to participate in the steps; from grocery list write-ups, shopping in the stores, separating all the meals for the week and helping prepare lunch bags, they will be more eager to open up their lunch boxes come the time to see all the work and help they put in to making their special meals. Having a healthy relationship with food is something that needs to be taught early on in a child’s life. When we explain the value of eating a variety of phytonutrients (eating foods that is covering the color of the rainbow) we are encouraging our children to understand more about what they miraculously find in their lunch bags every week. As well, it doesn’t hurt to have some helping hands along the way.
- Electronics: Although I’ve mentioned this in a previous point, I think this aspect of health deserves to be spoken on singularly. I cannot stress enough that it is unhealthy for us to constantly have our phones with us, close to our bodies, at all times. There are countless studies which highlight the detriment that Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) emitted from cell phones cause to the body. Unfortunately, our children are just as prone to these negative side effects as we are. If a child has a cell phone pressed up against their ear, the damage that can be caused to their developing brain is downright scary; as their cranium bones are not yet as hard as adults to decrease the EMF penetration. To help avoid decrease EMFs negative impacts, encourage your child to use their headphones instead of holding the actual phone up to their ear and to not carry their phone on them at all time.
- Immune Strengthening: Food first! Making sure our kids get most of their nutrients from food is key but sometimes not always a reality. This is why giving your kids a high-quality multivitamin (No, I don’t mean the Flintstones ones) is a great first step in maintaining a strong immune system. Adequate levels of Vitamin D, C and zinc are also key, especially in the winter months. I also encourage parents to incorporate into their child’s life a probiotic to make sure that have good bacterias in their gut as we now understand the importance of a healthy gut for a strong immune system. There are also homeopathic remedies that you can give to your children during the winter months to make sure that their immune system stays strong. We can’t forget to mention that chiropractic adjustments are an incredible help in keeping your immune system working optimally as the nervous system controls every cells, tissues, and organ in the body.
- Sports and Activities: I believe that it’s important for children to be a part of different sports groups and activities. It helps build character and teaches them about self-discipline, healthy social interactions, and many other life lessons. However, it is also important to not over do it. I often see kids that are in so many activities that they are exhausted (and so are the parents often times). It is important to not overload our kid’s schedule not only for their physical well-being but also for their mental well-being as they too need time to recharge. Also, consider the sports that you and your child pick. Some sports come with the challenges of impact and repetition and greater risk of injuries. Let’s not forget that we only have one body for the rest of our lives so let’s teach our kids to respect and take good care of it.
There you have it! Seven things that can have a huge impact on your child’s health! Now don’t forget, kids tend to imitate their parent’s behaviors! So, it’s important to lead by example and make sure that your habits are worth following!
At the end of the day, it’s all about teaching your kids healthy habits from the get-go so that they can live long healthy lives.
To raising healthy and happy kids!