Monday, August 28, 2017

Check Out These Tips for Parents and Kids

Summer is winding down, and the first day of a new school year is almost here for parents and kids across the country. Many parents are organizing doctor’s visits for any last-minute required vaccines, or scrambling to plan transportation and after school care for their young students. All these tasks can be overwhelming as the school year begins.

Here are some common questions and recommendations for keeping your child healthy and relaxed as they start school this fall.

How can I prepare healthy school lunches and breakfasts for my child?

No matter what you decide to pack, be sure to check the sugar content. Read the ingredient list if you’re not sure. Sugary foods might seem like a quick solution, but sugar can make your child feel more tired later.

Snacks that have low to no sugar are good alternatives to sugar-packed foods. A balance of multi-grain starches, fruits, low-sugar dried fruits, nuts, and chopped vegetables can provide protein, vitamins and sustained energy.

Check out this tool that helps parents plan school lunches based on their dietary needs, and remember that involving your child in his or her lunch preparation is a great way to ensure they’ll eat what’s in their lunchbox.

How can I support healthy sleep habits during the school year?

Depending on your child’s age, they may need anywhere from 9 to 13 hours of sleep per night. Build your schedule around your child’s sleep needs and stick to it. Help your child establish a bedtime routine to get into the habit of going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day. Monitor your child’s screen time and regulate it if necessary: the use of electronic devices and screen time at night has been shown to have a detrimental effect on children’s quality of sleep.

Another thing you can do is to check to see how much light is entering your child’s room from outside. Light pollution has been shown to have adverse effects on quality of sleep too.

Are there any other tips for back-to-school health?

Attending a back-to-school health fair is a great way to access health, hygiene and safety tips for your child for the new school year, all in one place. Municipalities and even insurance companies sometimes host back-to-school health fairs for parents and students. Search the Internet for a back-to-school health fair near you.

Make sure any medicines your child might need are in hand before the school year starts so that you don’t have to scramble to get prescriptions filled during the back-to-school rush. If you or your child is uninsured or underinsured and having trouble accessing the medication your family needs, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance may be able to help.

If you or someone you love struggles with affordable access to medicines, there are resources available that may be able to help: The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps connect patients with patient assistance programs that provide free or nearly free prescription medicines. For more information, visit www.pparx.org.