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Preparing for a Healthy and Happy School Year

With summer winding down, it’s time for parents to start thinking about the back-to-school season. A new school year means kids are exposed to new classmates, new teachers and often, new germs. It’s important for you to help your child start the year off happy and healthy - and while the transition from summer fun to school days can be stressful, you can set your child up for success by introducing healthy habits into back-to-school planning.

Here are three steps you can take to help your child start the school year strong.

  1. Set the sleep schedule

 For many of us, fun summer nights result in lenient bedtime routines. You shouldn’t wait until the night before the first day of school to enforce a new bedtime routine. The National Sleep Foundation recommends gradually adjusting your child’s sleep schedule two weeks before school begins. No matter your child’s age, a consistent bedtime routine is beneficial in adjusting to a new sleep schedule. Getting the proper amount of sleep per night is crucial for your child’s school performance, so making the adjustment early will ease the back-to-school transition.

  1. Focus on nutrition

If your child will be bringing a lunch from home, incorporate healthy food options like apples, Greek yogurt or baby carrots. If your child will buy his or her lunch at school, the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center recommends discussing the lunch menu with your child prior to the first day of school, so he or she can make smart food choices. Nutrition plays an important role in performance, so make sure you are providing the healthy food options that will set your child up for success.

  1. Visit the doctor

A visit to the doctor should always be on your back-to-school preparation checklist. An annual check-up is important for pediatricians to monitor your child’s development, as well as follow up on any recent illnesses and injuries. Check-ups are especially important when your child is due for a vaccination. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, an annual observance highlighting the importance of vaccination for people of all ages, so it’s the perfect time to make sure your child is up-to-date on vaccines before heading to school. Not only will this protect the health of your child, it will also help protect the health of classmates, friends and relatives.

Through preparation, you can ensure an easy and healthy transition to the new school year, while still enjoying the rest of summer break.

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