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Front Page » September 4, 2012 » Emery County News » Back to school tips for children
Published 1,632 days ago

Back to school tips for children

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By Dr. Hal Gooch
Chief Medical Officer of Molina Healthcare of Utah

Can you hear the class bells ringing? With the first day of school behind them, students need some special help from home. Here are 10 helpful tips to get them ready for the new school year:

1. They need sleep: Students need at least nine hours of sleep to be healthy. Reestablish the bedtime and mealtime routine at least one week before school starts. Stagger bedtimes for kids of different ages.

2. Eating a healthy breakfast: When your kids eat breakfast, they will do better in school, be more active and eat fewer calories throughout the day. Try to have healthy breakfast food in the house, such as fruits, eggs and yogurt, but any breakfast is better than no breakfast at all. To give their brains the kick start they need, make sure that whatever they eat in the morning has protein and fiber.

3. Encourage involvement: Whether your child is a star football player or a chess superstar, encourage him or her to get involved in school. Extracurricular activities usually have a grade point average minimum and promote studying.

a. Forty-six percent of uninvolved students failed one or more classes, while only 23 percent of involved students failed a class, according to an Idaho study.

4. Pack a lunch: Your child's cafeteria lunch food may seem like the easiest way for him or her to have lunch, but it's not the healthiest. Instead, encourage your son or daughter to make his or her own lunch the night before. Buy healthy and delicious sandwich ingredients - stay away from processed foods - and help him or her create an ideal lunch.

5. Help them plan ahead: When everything is planned the night before, your children will be less stressed in the morning (and won't fall asleep worrying). Don't wait to the last minute to prepare for school. Before the school year starts, have your child go through his or her room to see which school supplies he or she has and which ones he or she needs. And the same goes for school clothes.

a. Americans spent an average of $7.2 billion in family clothing stores in August 2009, according to the U.S. Census. Clean out closets and dressers to find those forgotten clothes that still fit.

6. Schedule doctor visits: Your son or daughter may not be sick during the summer, but it's the best time to get preventative checkups. Take a day off of work and schedule dental and physical appointments. One summer checkup could keep your children healthy and stop them from missing school.

7. Watch for mental health issues: Look for changes in your child's behavior, especially if he or she is a teenager. Watch for eating disorders or depression and talk to your child if you notice something unusual or different.

8. Turn off the TV: During the final weeks of summer, encourage your child to play quiet games, do puzzles, use flash cards or read instead of watching television. These quiet activities will help ease him or her into the school routine.

9. Get your children immunized: Vaccines and immunizations are required for most public schools, but call your child's school to learn about any new vaccine requirements. And if you're unsure if your child has been vaccinated, check with your family's pediatrician to make sure your child is up-to-date.

10. Be enthusiastic: Many kids are nervous about going back to school, so be enthusiastic about your kids' return. Talk to your kids about the upcoming school year and once the year starts, listen to them as they talk about their day. Be supportive and encouraging.

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