Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Preparing your children for the start of the school year can take a lot of effort; from finding the perfect backpack, buying the correct school supplies, and alas, purchasing the perfect first-day outfit.  But, there’s much more prep work than checking items off a shopping list, and a few simple tips can help you steer your child on the right path for a healthy year ahead.

Reinstate routines

Studies show students perform better in school when they’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-aged children need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep. Be sure to shift your kids from summer sleep hours to school bedtime schedules.  Experts advise to get students in their routine the week before school starts.  You can help encourage this transition by having reading or quiet time an hour before going to bed.

Better backpacks

Make sure your student isn’t straining their back going to and from school.  Be sure to choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.  Help your child organize the backpack by putting the heavier items closest to the center of the back.  Make sure the backpack doesn’t weight more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.

Hail healthy hand washing habits

As your child embarks on a year of new experiences, they will also inevitably be exposed to new germs.  Proper hand washing will help prevent colds and flu, which tend to peak from October to May.  Our healthcare providers encourage children to sing a song, such as “Happy Birthday to You” while washing their hands to make sure they wash long enough.  Be sure your kids know to use warm water, and to wash both sides of their hands, their wrists, between fingers, and under nails.

Look for lice

Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to ward off head lice.  Your best defense is to examine your child’s hair and scalp regularly so you can catch an infestation quickly.  Quick treatment will help prevent the bugs from spreading to the rest of the family.

Balanced breakfast, and then pack a powerful lunch

Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as obesity, dental cavities, iron deficiency and osteoporosis.  A balanced breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function, reduced absenteeism and improved mood.  Continue those benefits throughout the day with a healthy lunch.  Summit Health experts offer a few tips:

  • Choose 100 percent whole wheat/whole grain bread over white bread.
  • Make sandwiches with protein-packed peanut butter or lean meats, such as turkey, tuna, ham or roast beef.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to satisfy sweet or crunchy cravings.
  • Quench thirst with beverages such as plain or flavored water or 1percent low-fat milk.
  • Limit juice servings to four ounces per day.  Even 100 percent fruit juice contains as many calories and sugar grams as soda.  Encourage a piece of fresh fruit instead.

Get physical: schedule a check-up

With the back-to-school season comes an ongoing wave of sports practices and games.

Summit FastCare, located in the Giant Food Store at 993 Wayne Ave., Chambersburg; Chambersburg Urgent Care; and Shippensburg Urgent Care all offer sports physicals for just $30 and can get your child prepped to play with no need for an appointment.

After the season starts, though, all three practices offer convenient hours to treat the bumps, bruises, sprains and straing your athlete may get along the way.

Both urgent care locations are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily. Summit FastCare is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.