Make Going Back to School Happier and Healthier

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It’s time for the kids to head back to the classroom. Changing from a summer to a school schedule can be stressful for everyone. Here are a few things that you can do to help your children have a healthy, happy new school year.

Sleep Schedules

Going back to school means the end of late bedtimes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-aged children (ages 6 to 13) need about 9 to 11 hours of sleep. By setting earlier bedtimes, you are helping to teach your kids about healthy sleep habits.

Importance of Immunizations

When it comes to your child’s health, ensuring that their immunizations are up to date is critical. Not sure which immunizations are required? Check with your child’s doctor, their school, or your local health department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a full recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents ages 18 and younger on its official website (

Plan Healthy Lunches

It can be all too easy to fall into the “sandwich, chips, cookie” routine when you’re packing school lunches for your children. Sure, your child may like all these things, but they’re not the healthiest option. With a little pre-planning, you can ensure that your child has a delicious and nutritious lunch – as well as one they’ll want to eat.

Variety is key. Try to include different foods each day. For example, instead of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat, why not try a veggie wrap? And don’t forget to add the proteins: slip in a yogurt or a granola bar. If you load up your child’s lunch with too many carbohydrates, they’ll be hungry again before the school day ends.

And while it’s great to include a lot of different kinds of fruits and veggies, keep your child in mind when you prep. Do they like raw cauliflower florets? If they don’t like to eat a certain food at home, you can be pretty sure they won’t eat it if you pack it in their school lunch.

Don’t Overload Those Backpacks

Did you know that according to the American Occupational Therapy Association, well over half of students carry a backpack that is too heavy? This can cause potentially serious health issues, including back and neck pain, as well as poor posture. A backpack should weigh no more than 15 percent of a child’s body weight. Make sure they’re wearing both shoulder straps and the waist strap, to help better distribute the backpack’s weight. The heaviest items should be placed low and near the center of the back. If your child’s school allows them, consider getting a wheeled backpack, especially if your child regularly overloads their pack.