By: Rudy A. Ciccotti Recreation Center
Creating a Healthy and Happy School Year
Preparing for back to school doesn’t end with purchasing supplies on the school list. Kids need a healthy and productive routine along with their notebooks and backpacks. Start the school year with these healthy habits that will keep your kids on track the entire school year.
Fuel for School
While it’s easy to visit the drive-thru after a long day of work and school, choosing healthy meals and snacks keeps kids full and focused in and out of the classroom. Substitute sugary cereals and processed breakfast foods for eggs, fresh oatmeal and fall fruits (Back to School: Healthy Habits for Children, 2016). For lunch try salads, wraps, low-fat ranch and veggie dips and whole wheat sandwiches. Fruit, plain popcorn and whole-grain chips are great options for lunch sides (cookinglight, 2016). Dinner time is a great opportunity for the entire family to connect, discuss the school day and upcoming activities. Meal planning for the week helps to alleviate the “what’s for dinner?” question each day, making grocery shopping easier while keeping your budget on track. For healthy dinner ideas try websites such as thefoodnetwork.com, health.com and kidshealth.com.
Focus on fun when motivating kids to be active during the school year. Signing up for kids’ activities at the gym keeps kids engaged in fun fitness. According to kidshealth.com, regular exercise provides strong muscles and bones, weight control, better sleep and a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (KidsHealth, 2016). Whether your kid enjoys casual fun or is a committed athlete, it’s important to keep kids active after sitting in the classroom for hours each day. The childcare program and events calendar are great resources to learn about activities tailored to your kid’s age group. You can also speak with our degreed and certified fitness specialists at the Center.
A structured schedule provides a consistent and healthy routine that kids can follow to balance homework, meals, exercise and playtime. Reducing the amount of TV and laptop time is essential to maintaining a productive schedule that keeps kids energetic and focused in class all week long. According to WebMD, kids 1-3 years old need 12-14 hours of sleep per day, 3-6 year olds need 10-12 hours, 7-12 year olds need 10-11 hours and 12-18 year olds need 8-9 hours a day (WebMD, 2016). A structured schedule teaches children organization and helps with their busy morning routine. Make sure that clothing, outerwear, book bags, lunches, purses, important documents, car keys and everything the family needs in the morning are prepared the night before.
These tips will keep your family healthy and happy the entire school year.
Back to School: Healthy Habits for Children. (2016, August). Retrieved from ilslearning.com: https://www.ilslearning.com/backtoschoolhealthyhabits/
cookinglight. (2016, August). Lunch Box Recipes for Kids (or Adults!). Retrieved from Cooking Light: https://www.cookinglight.com/food/lunch-box-recipes-kids/roast-beef-sandwich-fruit-nuts-lunch-box
KidsHealth. (2016, August). Motivating Kids to be Active. Retrieved from KidsHealth: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/active-kids.html#
WebMD. (2016, August). How Much Sleep Do Children Need? Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/sleep-children#2
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