With the start of the school year, like many others, you are probably feeling some different emotions as your children return to the classroom. As a mother, I will put my hand up first to say, I have a lot of mixed emotions and quite a few questions. And as a health and fitness professional, the questions that first come to my mind are:
- Will my child still get gym class?
- Will my child get enough movement throughout the day?
- Will my child be sedentary more than prior school years? Just a reminder that children need 180 minutes of movement each day. Parents hope that a good portion this movement comes from school.
I have listed my top healthy tips that I feel will be helpful in preparing your child for this school year. I would encourage you to continue practicing these healthy tips not only this year, but also in the years forward.
I cannot stress enough the importance of a young child eating healthy, nutritious meals. A child’s brain and body are growing at an exponential rate and require wholesome foods to help them grow and to protect them against all the nasty bugs that cause illness. I would especially remind parents to keep sugar to a minimal and ensure that your child drinks lots of water throughout the day.
As a parent, you must ensure that your child eats a good breakfast. Your child has just slept for ten plus hours and should not go to school on an empty stomach. Great items to add to a child’s breakfast are oatmeal, eggs, avocadoes, nut butters, fruit, milk, and whole grain breads.
And speaking of sleep –
Routine sleep helps your child function, prevents sickness, provides energy, and helps your child remain alert. In the summer some of us parents are less strict with our child’s sleep routine, but, given that school is back, I would recommend that your child’s sleep routine becomes more established. The result, your child will be fresh and back on track for those early school mornings.
Encourage good exercise habits.
Hopefully you have encouraged a whole lot of exercise this summer for your children, but you want to ensure it continues right on through the school year. As discussed earlier, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends 180 minutes of movement and exercise for children. Exercise prevents sickness, regulates mood, and provides energy and alertness. If schooling at home, if you are not a fan of the rain, you can do exercise videos with your child, have them play in the garage, or encourage them to dance to music. Encourage evening family walks, bike rides, and play sports together. These activities are all cost free, and can encourage family bonding and healthy bodies.
Here’s to a smooth transition back in September and a healthy school year.
MaryAnna Robbins CSEP-CPT, OFC RHEP – Group Exercise, Resistance Trainer, Yoga & Pilates Fitness