As the parent of a child in elementary school, it’s important that you teach your little one ways to stay healthy throughout the school year. Your child will carry these valuable lessons with them well into adulthood. By teaching your child healthy habits, you can be sure that they will make it through the school year with as few illnesses as possible. Here are things that you should teach your child before they get on the bus tomorrow morning:
By teaching your children to wash their hands frequently, you can ensure that they contract fewer illnesses. Children touch hundreds of objects and surfaces every day, many of which contain germs left by others. After your children touch these objects and surfaces, they will invariably put their hands on their eyes, their mouths and their noses. Teach your children to wash their hands after they use the restroom and after they eat, at a minimum. Toss a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your child’s bag and teach them to use it when they get dirty and can’t get to a sink.
Don’t encourage your child to cough into their hands. Instead, teach your children to cough into a tissue or into their elbow. A tissue can be tossed into the garbage and the inside of an elbow rarely comes into contact with surfaces or people. Coughing correctly can significantly reduce the amount of germs that your child spreads to others.
Teach your child how to sleep properly. Your little one’s room should be completely dark save for a small nightlight if needed. Computers, televisions and radios in your kid’s room should always be turned off. Even if your child thinks that they need noise to sleep, it will only take a few nights to get used to sleeping in a quiet room. Once your child is used to sleeping in complete quiet, you’ll be surprised at how energetic they are throughout the day.
Take your child grocery shopping with you and show them which foods are healthy. Eat more fruits and vegetables at home and encourage your child to do the same at school. If you pack your child’s lunch, make sure that it is a well-balanced, nutritionally sound meal. Look for low-sodium lunchmeats, whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables that can be easily packed. Consider purchasing your child a bento box, which is a special sort of lunch box that enables you to pack several courses, condiments and even drink boxes.
The Right Bag
Try to avoid buying your child a backpack. Instead, look for a messenger bag or encourage your child to carry his books. Backpacks can put unhealthy stress on a small child’s back if not packed correctly. If your child is insistent on using a backpack, make sure that the straps are adjusted correctly and that the bag is worn on both shoulders. Discourage your child from carrying the bag with only one strap as this puts extra stress on one side of the body.
You can keep your school-aged child healthy throughout the year by following the tips above. If you teach your children how to pursue a healthy lifestyle at home and lead by example, you can be sure that they carry these lessons with them when they head to school for the day.
Sisily Anderson is a full-time writer for higher ed blogs and journals nationwide. Several schools offer degrees in the health field, including University of Southern California Health Degree and Berkeley Health Degree.