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As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to ensure your child is best prepared as they leave the confines of your home and into the halls of their elementary, middle, or high school this year. While you go through your child’s back-to-school list to get them ready for the new school year, don’t forget to put their health on the list as well.

Establish a Sleep Routine

A good night’s sleep is crucial for kids (and adults) as it allows the body to rest and recharge. During the school year, kids can become run down and even sick if they aren’t getting enough sleep. Help your kids by setting a bedtime routine that will allow them to get the recommended hours of sleep each night. This may mean setting a specific time for lights out and screen-free time so they can wind down before sleep.

Pack a Healthy Lunch

Gone are the days of packing your kids a lunch filled with unhealthy processed foods. These days, there are plenty of healthy and delicious options to choose from when it comes to packing a lunch. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein into your child’s lunch to help them power through their day.

Encourage Them to Get Outside

While there is a time and a place for screen time, children should be participating in some form of physical activity, especially outside. Children and teens should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. Enroll your children in after-school sports programs or help them remain active whenever possible.

Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

A healthy breakfast is the fuel your kids need to start their day off right. Breakfast provides the energy and nutrients kids need to concentrate and learn in school. Oatmeal, eggs, whole grain toast, fruit, and yogurt are all great options for a nutritious breakfast that will help your kids succeed in school.

Get an Eye Exam

It’s important that kids have their vision checked regularly, especially as they head back to school. Poor vision can impact a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. Schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor or an optometrist to ensure their vision is healthy.

Choose the Right Backpack

Your child’s backpack should be comfortable and fit well. Choose a backpack that is the appropriate size, has a padded back, and has two shoulder straps.

A backpack that is too heavy can cause kids to develop back and neck pain. Help your child organize their backpack each week to remove unnecessary items and keep the pack light.

Get a Flu Shot

Don’t wait until flu season before your child gets a flu shot. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine reduces the risk of infection by approximately 60%. A yearly dose is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

Schedule a Physical Exam

A back-to-school physical is a great way to ensure your child is in good health as they head into the new school year. During the exam, the doctor will check your child’s height, weight, blood pressure, and more. This is also a good time to update any vaccinations that may be due.

This year, as your kids reconnect with the classroom, help them grow and learn, as well as ward off sniffles, tummy aches, and more serious illnesses, like the flu, so they can make the most of day one. As a reminder, if your child does fall ill during the school year, have them stay home until they are cleared by a doctor.

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