Getting Back to School: Tips for Establishing Healthy Habits that Last All Year

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Now that it’s the middle of August, many schools in the Atlanta area are getting back in session. For kids of all ages, back-to-school time means new school supplies, new clothes, new teachers, and new opportunities to establish positive habits that can last all year. As a parent, there are a variety of things you can do to ensure that your child’s school year gets off to a healthy start. Read on for some healthy back-to-school tips that can support your child’s wellness all the way until school gets out next May.

 

Tip #1: Don’t weigh your child’s backpack down with too many heavy school supplies.

Buying new school supplies can be one of the most fun and exciting parts of the back-to-school experience, but studies show that a too-heavy backpack can lead to short-term and/or long-term back problems for children and adolescents. Therefore, when it comes to buying new school supplies, limit yourself to the list from your child’s school–there’s no need for your child to carry any more than that! It’s also increasingly easy to find schools supplies made from high-tech, lightweight materials, so you should try to choose these options over supplies made from heavy plastics and rubbers.

Of course, even if you work hard to lighten your child’s load, they will still inevitably have to carry books and papers to and from school. In order to help them maintain their spinal alignment–no matter how tough a course load they are taking–consider setting up a regular chiropractic appointment. By getting adjusted on a consistent basis, any misalignment from a heavy backpack can be corrected before it can negatively impact your child’s healthy growth and development.

 

Tip #2: Help your child establish a consistent sleep routine.

After a long summer of late nights and lazy mornings, it can be hard for students–especially adolescents in middle school and high school–to get to bed early, wake up on time, and get going in time to catch the bus. But it’s a lot easier if your child gets into a consistent sleep routine. In order to help your child wind down earlier in the night, set up bedtime routines like reading a book together (for younger children) or drinking a caffeine-free cup of tea (for older kids). Soon, your child’s body will become familiar with these triggers and recognize them as signs that it is almost time to get to sleep.

As for early mornings, getting your child excited to rise and shine in time for school can be a major challenge, but there are ways to make mornings smoother and more fun. For instance, you can help your child choose their outfit before bed so that they don’t have to make the decision when they wake up. You can also consider investing in a high-tech alarm clock so your child can wake up to their favorite music playlist or radio station.

 

Tip #3: Get your child excited about healthy eating.

For younger kids, it’s always fun to choose a new lunchbox for the upcoming school year. Whether the lunchbox displays the characters from the latest movie franchise or has a secret pocket for a thermos, your child probably can’t wait to show off its features to their friends. As a parent, your goal should be to get your kid just as excited about the healthy food that’s inside their lunchbox as they are about the designs on the outside. One way to make sure your child won’t be trading away healthy foods for packaged sweets is to get them involved in lunch preparation as part of your nightly routine together. Here are a few ideas for fun at the kitchen counter:

  • Let your child use cookie cutters to cut shapes into the whole-grain wheat bread you used to make your child’s sandwich.
  • Encourage your child to practice counting each carrot as they place it into a tupperware.
  • For a treat, let your child choose between a few different flavors of kid-sized, low-fat, low-sugar yogurt.

 

Tip #4: Make sure you’re attending to your own health.

Back-to-school time can be extremely hectic for parents, so you want to make sure that you’re attending to your own physical and mental health at this time of year If you let yourself get overwhelmed and overstressed by the demands of back-to-school shopping, ferrying kids to various after-school events, and getting involved in parent volunteer efforts, you can lose sight of the most important thing–being there for your child when they need you most. Just like your child, you need to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep at night. You should also revisit and revise your current daily schedule to ensure that you have ample time each day to fulfill your school-related obligations, while still maintaining your regular exercise routine and giving yourself time to plan healthy meals. If you’re prone to stress, you might also consider adding in a regular deep-tissue massage to help you stax relaxed. Through these efforts, you can model a healthy lifestyle for your child and always be ready to provide the support and love they need for another successful school year.

Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness is here to help your family start the school year off right! Contact us today to learn more about everything we offer for both kids and adults!

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