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Healthy Kids Back to School

Week 1 Nutrition

What your children put in their body matters.  It not only affects their physical health, but also their emotional health, their mood, behavior, and their ability to focus and learn. As you think about your children heading back to school it is a great time to do a nutrition check. 




The great thing about healthy foods is that they are healing foods. Research shows that a healthy diet can prevent illness and help you and your children stay healthy, so what your children eat can make a difference in how often and how severe they get ill.  In turn there are many foods, additives and preservative that don't serve your child's health.  Healthy kids, healthy families, healthy communities. Many families ask what healthy eating looks like and some of the things that they found helpful were:

*coming later in the week



Healthy foods also support learning.  Research shows what your child eats directly affects her focus, learning, mood, and behavior.  Classroom learning with be particularly challenging this fall and feeding your child the right kinds of foods with have a major impact on him/her and also their classmates and teachers.  


Nutrition not only important for growing bones and muscles, but also growing brains.  The brain is most vulnerable to poor nutrition and it needs the right kind of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to function efficiently.  Brain cells and its "wiring" depend on proper nutrition to fire, repair, and communicate properly.  


Week 2 Exercise

Now more than ever it is so important for your child to get enough exercise.  Exercise is as equally important as nutrition. It is natural for children to be active and spend time playing.  However, busy schedules, increased technology use, and sedentary lifestyles have reduced the amount of time children spend moving. Exercise is more than just building strong muscles and bones, it also:

  • Builds a healthy heart

  • Increases immunity

  • Improves coordination

  • Boosts mood, reduces stress and anxiety

  • Keeps kids lean

  • Prevents constipation

  • Improves sleep

Whether your children are heading back to the classroom or learning online, they will be spending much of their day in a chair in the same room. Finding ways to help them stay active is necessary for both their physical and emotional health.  To find out how to stay active during the school year click here.

Boys on their Bikes

Week 3 Water

Girl Drinking Water

The body is made up of mostly water and our bodies can't function without it.  Make sure your child is getting enough fluid this school year.  Water is vital to helping the kidneys eliminate waste and toxins from the the body.  It also keeps the muscles moving, and keeps the breathing passages from drying out when you have a cold.  Finally, water keeps the muscles in the body moving properly, helps keep the brain working properly, and prevents constipation.  

If your child's mouth is dry and they are thirsty, they may already be dehydrated. Here are some tips to help you get the water your child needs.  Signs that your child may not be getting enough water may include headache, fatigue, bad breath, dry skin, salt cravings, and poor endurance.  Children need about one ounce of water per pound per day.  That means a 50-pound child need 50 ounces, or a little more than 6 cups (8 oz), per day.    


Image by Lucas Metz

Back to school is stressful enough for some, but now COVID worries are adding to this stress.  Most children will embrace this change and look forward to returning to school and spending time with their classmates.  Other children may have a more difficult time.  They might have added fear of contracting the illness, of spreading the illness to their loved ones, they might be worried that their classmates aren't practicing proper safety measures, and some might have fear about wearing a mask.  

Some kids may be able to verbalize their fears, for others it may manifest in sleep disturbances, defiance or irritability, stomach issues, lack of concentration, loss of appetite, less energy, and sadness/crying.  Children may also complain that they do not want to go to school.  

First, stay patient, positive, supportive, and validate their feelings without giving the fear too much attention.  Make home a place where they can decompress and also provide the structure they need.  For more ideas on how to help your child deal with back to school stress click here.

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