Keeping your child healthy | GUEST COLUMN

Most children are very excited about heading back to school where they can connect with old friends and make new ones after a long summer break.

It’s all about the perfect backpack, new school supplies and new gear for some. For others, excitement comes from the new classes and subjects they will explore. For parents, it means changing routines and getting their little ones ready for the upcoming school year — including making sure they stay healthy and physically prepared for their favorite activities.

Here are a few simple tips that I have found most helpful for parents preparing their kids for the new school year:

Back packs: They’re cool to have and extremely convenient to use. If used incorrectly, however, they can put a strain on the back. About 50 percent of kids overload their backpacks. Backpacks should be worn shoulder height, not above the shoulder, and they should fall above the waist.

Germs: Colds are the most common cause of lost school days (a few million per year nationwide). Hand washing is an effective way to prevent the spread of these germs. Encourage your child to wash his/her hands frequently with soap and water (e.g. each time they go to the restroom, before snack and lunch time and possibly after recess, etc.). A good rule of thumb is to sing happy birthday two times when washing your hands. You can also send your child to school with hand sanitizer and encourage him/her to cough into their sleeves.

Routines: During the school year, children need to get to bed earlier, ensuring eight hours of bed rest. Rest is important for the brain to function properly! Also, try to cut down on video games and TV hours.

Checkups: If you haven’t done so already, schedule an appointment with your family physician. Well checks, sports physicals and ensuring your child’s immunizations are up to date are a few of the most important appointments to check off of the list when heading back to school.

Good food: Make sure your child has an adequate breakfast to power them up for the day ahead. Equally important is making sure they have a well-balanced lunch (be it cafeteria or packed food).

Dr. Marvin Roman is a practicing family medicine physician at Swedish/Redmond.



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