Getting the kids back into the school routine can quickly become a balancing act, particularly if they are involved in extracurricular activities. Working on homework, studying for tests, participating in after-school workouts, practices or tutoring sessions can mean less downtime and time at home in general, quickly leading to unhealthy habits just to fit it all in. With the right approach, it is possible to keep you and your family healthy throughout the school year without falling behind.
Sleep is important for the body as it is a time for the systems to reset. Lacking good sleep on a regular basis can result in a weakened immune system, lowered cognitive ability, and other serious health problems. Promote healthy sleep habits by keeping phones and electronics out of the bedroom to help prevent late-night web surfing or sleep-disturbing notifications. Try and stick to a routine by going to bed around the same time each night, and be sure to limit or eliminate caffeine intake during the afternoon and evening.
Eat Breakfast – And All Your Meals
Eating regular, nutritious meals helps promote concentration and can increase energy. Kids who show up to school without breakfast may struggle during class or be in a bad mood and less willing to participate. If necessary, everyone in the family should wake up earlier to have breakfast together, giving everyone the boost needed to start the day. For lunch, ensure your child is eating the school’s lunch, or pack a meal for him to take. The same can be said for adults – if you know a busy day lies ahead, bring a nutritious lunch with you or take a moment to order a balanced meal from a local restaurant. If there are after school activities planned, think ahead for dinner in a way that will allow you to offer something nutritious rather than stopping at the concession stand or in the drive thru.
Setting aside some time each week to develop a weekly plan will help keep the family on track and lower stress levels. Knowing when there are work, school, and social obligations planned will help balance out any spur-of-the-moment events and allow for better meal planning. Even planning time for yourself may be necessary to ensure you can fit in your daily workout or hobby, and writing things out will help keep you to the task by not allowing it to turn into an afterthought. If the calendar becomes too overwhelming, discuss where things may be trimmed – participation in multiple sports, arts activities, and more can quickly become overwhelming, and chances are you or your child will have better success by focusing on a few specifics that are truly enjoyed.
Don’t Forget the Hygiene
If there’s one thing to pay extra attention to during the school year, it’s hygiene. As the kids go back to school and fall viruses and illnesses start making the rounds, their exposure increases, bringing more sickness home. Younger children should be taught early on about proper handwashing, bathing, and tooth brushing, which should continue to be encouraged as they age. Keep surfaces and common areas clean, and keep disinfecting cleaners on-hand in the event someone in the house does get sick to help avoid spreading it to others.
Keep Up with Wellness Visits
Regardless of how busy back-to-school season can be, keeping up with necessary wellness visits at the doctor’s office will help keep you and your family in good health. Whether you need a regular women’s visit, dermatology check-up, immunizations and more, it’s important to visit someone you can trust with your health. At Decatur County Memorial Hospital, we offer all of these services and more. For those times where an illness is unavoidable, we also offer a Well Clinic for comprehensive, non-emergency care to help you get back to feeling like yourself.