Smart Solutions for a Healthy Back-to-School Season

Hitting the books sounds painful, but going back to school shouldn't be unhealthy. Here's how to help ensure your kids get an A+ start to the school year.

kidsgoingtoschoolunguryanu/ShutterstockWe send our kids to school with the best intentions, believing that kids need a good education to become productive, happy adults. But we don’t often take the time to ensure the basics—that they’re eating eating right, getting enough sleep, and not spending too long with tech distractions. You don’t have to control every minute of your child’s day. Take care of these five essentials to your children’s health, and they’ll be off to a great back-to-school year.

Stay active. The end of summer shouldn’t mean the end of physical activities. Sign kids up for a sport or send them out to ride bikes or walk the dog. If you live near school, skip the bus and walk your child to class.

Log off. Hours spent at the computer may lead to eyestrain and an aching neck and back. Make sure kids sit at least two feet from the monitor and take breaks, says Dana Weintraub, MD, of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Too much blue light late at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm and ruin sleep schedules.

Schedule sleep. Avoid lost zzz’s by having your child gradually go to bed and get up earlier during the week or two before classes start. Nixing big meals and caffeine before bedtime may also help.

Ban heavy bags. Backpacks shouldn’t weigh more than 10% to 15% of a child’s weight. Look for pads on the shoulder straps and back, and put the heaviest items closest to the body. For extra support, get a bag with a waist strap or a backpack on wheels.

Mind the menu. For lunches, focus on fruits, veggies, dairy and whole grains.

See Also: Healthy Habits to Adopt as a Family

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest