5 Healthy Habits for a Successful School Year

By Haley Bass | 08/21/2016

After a summer of freedom, sending your kids back to school can be stressful. From navigating the crowded school supply aisles to getting back into routine, August can be a busy time of year. The last thing you need to worry about is your kid getting sick.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to prevent illness and promote health as the school year begins. Here are five healthy habits your family should follow for a successful start to the school year:

1. Sleep

A consistent bedtime is essential for kids of all ages. Sleep deprivation not only alters a child’s focus and mood, but also their cognitive development. It’s so critical that, not getting the right amount of sleep each night may possibly lead to decreased intelligence and alertness (Lane). 
To help your kids get good sleep, encourage them to follow a bed time routine. This may include reading a book, stretching, shutting down technology and taking a bath. Having a ritual takes away the stigma associated with bed time, and ensures that children are getting the appropriate amount of sleep to take on the day. 

2. Healthy Lunch

Another important tool for the brain is a healthy, balanced diet. While a Lunchable® may be the easiest thing to throw in a lunch box, the high sodium and sugar content is sure to send your kid into a sleepy afternoon. A nutritious lunch should mostly consist of fruit and vegetables, along with a lean protein and a whole-grain carb (O'Neil). 
Instead of stressing about a Pinterest-worthy lunch every morning, set aside meal prep time on weekends or evenings. Include small-bite options like cheese cubes and baby carrots to make eating efficient in the short lunch period. A healthy belly leads to a healthy mind.

3. Regular Exercise 

Physical activity should be included in your kids’ weekly schedule. Encourage kids to participate in a sports team or dance class, or even to just play in the yard. Take walks as a family a few times a week to combine family bonding with physical activity. 
Being active is essential to building and maintaining a strong immune system. After sitting at a desk all day, kids need something to get them on their feet. Encourage your child to find a physical activity they enjoy so they actually want to participate.

4. Free Time

Although it’s important for kids to be involved in school and community, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Kids need REST. Their minds have been engaged all day at school, then they have homework and chores to get done along with all of the activities scheduled throughout the week. 
Make sure you’re allowing some free time and relaxation for your child. Give them time to hang out with their friends and just be a kid. Too much stress and busyness can harm the immune system (StatePoint).

5. The Right Tools

Set your kids up for success with the right tools for a healthy school year. Attach a mini hand sanitizer to their backpack, teach them to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze, and get them a flu shot! Throughout the year, disease can spread quickly among kids. Taking preventative measures is the best way to avoid contagious infections like the flu. 

Concentra delivers quality and experienced medical care for a wide range of illnesses, including seasonal influenza. With close to 300 locations and walk-in service, Concentra provides convenient care for simple flu shot services as well as other school required vaccinations. Use our Location Finder to locate the Concentra Urgent Care nearest you.

Set aside the stress and follow these healthy habits to ensure a great school year. 

Lane, Lani. The Importance of Sleep for Teenagers. 25 July 2016. 
O'Neil, Carolyn. Tips for practicing back-to-school lunch food safety. 2 August 2016. 
StatePoint. Keep your family healthier this back-to-school season. 3 August 2016.