9 back to school health tips: keep your kids healthy
As summer comes to a close, there is always a lot to be done to get kids ready to go back to school. Parents, help your kids have a great school year by making sure they are healthy and ready to learn – because healthy students are better learners.
Back to School Nutrition tips
Ensure your kids drink plenty of water, Sending your kids to school with 1-2 water bottles daily is one of the easiest and healthiest options. Adding freshly squeezed lemon and lime can add flavour and aids in digestion.
Give your children probiotics, 80% of our immune system is located in our gut; the balance of good bacteria versus bad bacteria is tipped so quickly with sugar and processed foods. Adding in probiotics to your child’s daily routine can have positive effects on mood, sleep and a healthy functioning immune system.
Fish oils/fresh fish, Fish or fish oil in particular are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is essential for brain and eye development. While you can find omega-3’s in plant-based sources (avocados, chia, hemp, nuts and seeds, etc.), evidence indicates that we are not able to convert them with high efficiency into EPA and DHA.
Make sure children get enough sleep
Growing children need sleep…although they will beg to differ with you! It is vital to their mood, behaviour and attention. Children aged 6-13 need about 9-11 hours of sleep a night. To help your children get a good night’s sleep, help instill a regular bedtime routine, ensure the TV, computer, video games and cell phone are out of your child’s bedroom and that the room is as dark as possible. Essential oils, such as lavender, can help to release tension and allow for relaxation as well.
Physical Activity in School
Irish children spend six to eight hours a day at school. That creates many opportunities for students to be physically active, which is important because experts recommend children get 60 minutes of physical activity per day. It is also important for students to get physical education designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviours for physical activity and physical fitness. These can help your kids gain the ability to stay physically active for their entire life time.
Tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in Ireland. Children with poor oral health (cavities, gum disease) often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who have better oral health. Don’t forget to include a dental check-up in your back-to-school plans.
Tackling head lice
Head lice will often do the rounds at schools at this time of year. If you need to treat your child, we can help you choose the best products and talk you through how to use them correctly so that they are effective. We can also give tips on detection-combing on either wet or dry hair as head lice can be difficult to spot in hair. We also have a video on our website www.lynchspharmacy.com, where we provide everything you need to know on headline.
If a virus takes hold, the infection will have to go on its own, but we can help with managing the symptoms. It’s sensible for families, to have a first-aid kit with some staples, such as throat lozenges, vapour rub and a product to reduce pain and fever. Watch our video where we describe specific symptoms of colds & flu and provide tips for managing a cold effectively.
Topping up vitamin D
The Department of Health recommends children aged one to four should be given a 10mcg supplement of vitamin D daily (unless they are consuming more than 500ml of formula milk a day) and it’s wise for older children and adults too, especially through the winter months. From the end of September to the end of March the sun isn’t strong enough to cause the production of vitamin D in our bodies, and it’s very difficult to guarantee you’re getting enough from diet alone from sources including oily fish and fortified food. We can provide appropriate advice regarding suitable supplements for all ages.
Helping to manage asthma
Cold weather, colds and the flu are major triggers for asthma. Also, kids will be doing PE and you might be worried about them getting wheezy. We can check how people use their inhaler, help them perfect their technique and discuss how best to manage triggers. We provide demonstration videos on inhaler technique on our website www.lynchspharmacy.com. We also provide all you need to know to develop your own asthma action pack.
Check with your GP that your children are up to date on all of their vaccinations. From flu shots and HPV vaccines to three-in-one tetanus, diphtheria and polio boosters, your GP can let you know what jabs your children require according to their age.