Back-to-School Tips

Category: Lifestyle 67

August is a busy time as families enjoy the last highlights of summer while preparing children for going back to school. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month, and while making sure kids are up-to-date on vaccinations is an important task, Dr. Ofer Shustik of Coordinated Health West Palm Beach says there are more ways parents can keep their kids happy and healthy in the year ahead. Here, Dr. Shustik shares his Healthy Kids ‘Top 5’ checklist:

1.       Eat better:

  • Keep plenty of organic fruits and vegetables on hand, ready for consumption
  • Don’t buy junk food, except for special occasions
  • Limit red meat and starchy, empty carbs
  • Replace sugary drinks, like soda, energy drinks and juice, with water

2.       Encourage daily exercise:

  • Help them find at least one physical activity that’s right for them
  • Set an example for making exercise part of their daily schedule. Join them on a bike ride, a swim or a game of tennis

3.       Encourage good mental health:

  • Teach them time management and how to balance school, recreation and rest
  • Helping others improves our world and builds self-awareness
  • Listen to your child’s opinions on school. They might be going through a socially-awkward time, feeling isolated at lunch or even the victim of a bully. While they might not give details, they might share that they “don’t like school.” Keep the lines of communication open so they feel they can go to you for help
  • Identify with your child other adults – grandparents, school counselors, etc. – who you both consider trustworthy who they can go to with concerns

4. Talk to them about drugs and alcohol:

  • Limit your own alcoholic intake in front of children and teens
  • Openly discuss peer pressure. A conversation allows for acknowledgment, education, and a plan of action to decrease the likelihood of unwanted influence
  • Use celebrity cautionary tales as a means of having discussions on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse

5.       An Ounce of Prevention is better than a Pound of Cure:

  • Help your child learn how to protect their own health, i.e., washing hands, using disinfectants, avoiding others with colds and flu
  • Make sure they have an annual flu shot and are up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations
  • Nothing replaces a good night’s sleep

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