Prepare for Back to School the Healthy Way

With the madness of sending kids back to school, parents can often use a little help keeping their families healthy and ahead of the curve. Shopping for school supplies and clothes and adjusting sleep schedules can be a lot to handle on top of your everyday responsibilities.

By taking the right steps to make going back to school is a positive and healthy experience, you can ensure your child’s success in and out of the classroom. Here are a few helpful tips:
Get in the Routine: Gradually get into a morning and nighttime routine as a family to become accustomed to school schedules. The more you do it, the more natural and easier it will become. Part of that routine involves shopping early for school supplies and clothes. Take the kids and let them pick out some items that will get them excited to go to school.

Eat Healthy: Eating healthy is a key ingredient to feeling great, and feeling great leads to a good day at school and work. Start every school day with a breakfast that might include fruit, low-sugar cereal, or yogurt. Read labels and pay attention to serving sizes. Control your portions to accommodate family energy levels and to avoid overeating. Choose healthy drinks that benefit you throughout the day. The human body is 60 percent water and relies on it to perform virtually every function. Strive for new experiences in the kitchen, and bring some new fruits or vegetables home and try them raw or cooked in a variety of ways.

Sleep Well: Sleep is an essential part of healthy living. So many good things happen when our minds and bodies are resting. Doctors recommend between 10 and 12 hours per day for kids between the ages of 5 and 12, and even more if they are younger. When children do not get enough sleep it can cause moodiness, behavioral and cognitive problems that impact their ability to learn in school. Additionally, recent studies have found links between sleep and obesity in children. It may seem strange, but the more hours that kids sleep the less likely they are to develop an unhealthy weight.

Get Together: Strong relationships are one of the cornerstones of health and well-being, and few relationships are as important as those between parent and children. The time and attention that you invest now will help your children learn, grow and thrive in school. Eating together as a family is one of the simplest ways to strengthen your relationships at home and help young people learn to be better friends at school. The family meal is about being together and supporting one another. It’s also a great time to catch up on family news. And back-to-school planning prepares the entire family for school-year expectations.

The YMCA of Austin offers a variety of activities to benefit families during the school year, from educational enrichment programs such as art or music to dance or youth sports. For more information on the full array of offerings, call 730-YMCA or visit AustinYMCA.org.

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