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– Healthy Back To School Tips

Healthy Back To School Tips

back to school headerIt’s back-to-school time! Which means books, bags, pencils, lunches, buses, sports, new clothes & friends, and all the rest that a new school year brings. With all the running around and the chaos that can become a new year, it’s important to be remember that your health and your kid’s health matters. That’s why we’ve provided a few healthy back-to-school tips for you to read as you take on a new school year!

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Healthy Breakfast

Kids are heading back to school which means they may need an extra boost in the morning in order to stay alert and focused throughout the school day. Not to mention, students are likely waking up earlier than normal in order to catch the bus and/or make it to school on time in the mornings whatever transportation possible.

Breakfast is known to be the most important meal of the day (for kids and adults!). By eating a healthy, substantial, and nutrient-filled breakfast, you are encouraging your mind and body to work at its highest potential throughout the day. A fulfilling breakfast means energy, increased concentration, and can even improve your mood. Let’s be honest – the term “hangry” (anger due to hunger) is a real thing and should not be overlooked.

Some healthy breakfast tips, according to an article from EatingWell include whole grains, lean sources of protein, and fruit. According to EatingWell, whole grains and whole fruits include fiber, while foods like eggs, peanut butter, lean meats, milk and yogurts offer great sources of protein that will last throughout the day.

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Safe Backpacks

Backpack safety is important as carrying a large amount of weight the wrong way can be detrimental to one’s back, especially during stages of growth. According to HealthyChildren.org, backpack safety tips include choosing a pack with “wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back,” making sure the pack never weighs “more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight,” making sure the bottom of the pack “sits at the waist,” using “both shoulder straps,” and even considering a “rolling backpack.”

These small tips can help keep your child safer throughout the school year. Making sure to monitor how your child is carrying his/her pack and the accumulated weight throughout the year is also important to backpack safety.

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Staying Active

If your child is not enrolled in an after-school program or sport, finding ways to stay active during the school year can be difficult, especially as the weather gets colder. According to an article from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 3 steps you can take to be more active as a family include:

  1. “Keep track of how your family spends time for one week.”
  2. “Start small. Find two 30-minute time slots when your family can be active together after school or on the weekends.”
  3. “Get going. Try these great tips:
    • Walk your kids to school
    • Ride bikes after dinner
    • Play baseball
    • Jump rope
    • Shoot baskets
    • Dance
    • Walk the dog
    • Play tag
    • Rake leaves”

And don’t forget – you can always head over to your local YMCA after school to get in a workout! Finding small activities to do can certainly go a long way, and doing them with your kids is a great way to not only be a positive role model, but to stay active yourself!

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Avoiding Sickness

Going back to school can also mean increase expose to germs that can cause sickness, so it’s important to maintain good hygiene habits throughout the school year. According to an article from HealthyWomen.org, teaching your kids to wash hands “after using the restroom and before going to lunch or eating a snack” can help reduce harmful bacteria that they pick up at school. The article continues by stating that, “It may be smart to provide your children with on-the-go hand sanitizer to use when washing their hands isn’t convenient.”

Small steps with improving hygiene can truly help keep not only your child healthier, but their fellow students as well.

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Sticking to a Sleep Routine

Sleep routines are always the hardest. Your child may have a difficult time getting the proper amount of sleep as they transition from summer to fall, but helping them create a sleep schedule is a key ingredient to a healthy, energized, and mentally attentive child and student.

According to HealthyWomen.org, “children and adolescents typically need more than eight hours” of sleep. “To get your kids ready to wake up earlier for school, consider making their bedtimes a little earlier each night for a week or two before school starts. Sticking to a routine is important too, so don’t let weekends become late-night free-for-alls.”


Though back to school is a busy time for kids (and their parents!), taking small steps to make the year healthier will benefit both parents and kids in the long-term!

-Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator

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