'Be Healthy, Stay Healthy' Issue 10: Healthy Kids Makes for Alert Students
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It is days from the moment when thousands of parents around Boro Park will give their children a kiss, bid them tearfully to “learn geshmak” and send them off with a kapitul Tehillim on their lips for their hatzlacha in the new school year.
As the school year begins, the most effective thing a parent can do for his or her child’s academic success is by ensuring a smooth schedule that includes a nutritious breakfast every single morning. There are many myths around what goes into raising healthy kids. Here are some tips to keep in mind as your family prepares for the back-to-school rush:
• Going to regular wellness visits at your pediatrician and pediatric dentist contributes to better long-term health outcomes. Once a child turns 3, he or she should see a doctor at least once a year, and more frequently prior to that. These are also opportunities to stay up to date on vaccines.
• A balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains. As yummy as it is, juice is not a fruit and ideally should be consumed in very small amounts, less than four ounces a day, or not at all
• Vigorous aerobic exercise is important for a healthy, growing body. Sixty minutes a day are recommended, but any movement counts. Try to exercise outside when possible, even in cold weather. Don’t worry, being outside (even with wet hair!) won’t make kids sick!
• Gentle and firm disciple goes a long way. Kids thrive with structure and schedules. Set some time to sit with your kids before the start of school and come up with a schedule that they will agree to follow. This includes wakeup times, getting to the bus or carpool, what time they come back from school or yeshiva, homework, playtime and going to sleep. When things get hectic during the year, use the schedule to remind them — and yourself — of what the expectations are.
• Spending time with friends is critical for developing social skills. Try to respect their privacy; however, show interest in their friends and who they spend time with. Use shared decision-making when enforcing rules and involve kids in establishing boundaries around their schedule, screen limits and social circles.
Wishing you a healthy and safe school year!