Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The school year is in full swing, which means it is time to set routines to ensure your child has a healthy and successful academic year.

Research shows that physical activity, good nutrition and plenty of sleep may help improve academic achievement.

Practice good hand hygiene. Back-to-school season means more than just homework assignments. It also means an increase in germs that can bring various illnesses into your home. Practicing good hand hygiene is the best way to avoid catching or spreading germs. Although handwashing with soap and water is best, use hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available. Teach your child about the importance of proper hand hygiene and to sneeze or cough into their sleeves or the crook of their elbow rather than their hands.   

Get plenty of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 3 to 5 should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep; children ages 6 to 13 should get nine to 11 hours of sleep; and teenagers ages 14 to 17 should aim for eight to 10 hours of sleep each night.

To help your child get the best sleep possible:

  • Set consistent bedtimes and make sure all studying is done well before bedtime.
  • Remove or turn off electronic devices in your child’s bedroom. This includes cell phones, televisions, computers and video games.
  • Encourage your child to read, listen to music or find another relaxing activity to do before bed.
  • Keep your child’s room at a comfortable temperature.
  • Discuss the importance of sleep with your child.

Stay fit. Children and teens should participate in at least one hour of physical activity each day. This may mean going on a bike ride, swimming, walking, running or playing sports like soccer or basketball. To encourage physical activity, try involving the whole family in these activities and make it part of your daily routine.

Eat healthy. Research shows that good nutrition helps children perform better in school. Setting healthy habits can also help prevent obesity and medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol later in life.

Here are a few dietary tips for your whole family:

  • Review portion sizes and nutritional facts on food items.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit.
  • Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  • Eat lean proteins, whole grains and low-sodium foods.

Schedule your check-up. Make sure you and your child are current on your immunizations and that all members of your family get an annual flu vaccination each fall. Children playing sports should also get a sports physical to prevent or detect medical issues that may put them at risk for injuries or more serious medical conditions.

Although these are great tips on staying healthy, we know that your family will get colds and other illnesses. If you need medical advice, Norman Regional has you covered. Learn more about Norman Regional Virtual Care or log on to visit with a provider 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $45 for each visit.