Tips and advice to help you handle getting back into the fall-through-spring routine
Summer vacation is quickly coming to an end. It’s time to switch gears and adjust your child’s schedule for the school year. Parents of school-aged children need to be aware of sleep schedules, food intake, potential stressors and extracurricular activities. Ensuring you have a handle on the factors that affect your children will help you (and them) get ready for school.
How many hours of sleep do my kids need?
Sleep is essential for kids because it directly affects their physical and cognitive development. Poor sleep habits can lead to mood swings, impact learning abilities and exacerbate behavioral problems.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 3- to 5-year-old children need from 11 to 13 hours of sleep every night. To ensure your child gets enough sleep, create a relaxing bedtime routine inside your child's room by providing a dark, cool and quiet environment.
Discourage kids from watching TV at least an hour before bed to avoid any sleep resistance issues. To promote good sleeping habits, keep electronic devices out of their bedrooms and avoid giving them caffeinated drinks several hours before bed.
What are the most nutritious meals to feed children?
Nutrition is vital for healthy child development. Food gives us the energy to grow, move, play, think and learn. To provide healthy meals for your children, include fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy products in their daily diets.
- Choose whole fruits and a colorful variety of vegetables.
- Provide a mixture of proteins including poultry, meat, fish, beans, peas and nuts.
- Limit foods high in sodium, sugars and saturated fats.
Do my kids suffer from stress at such a young age?
Yes. Kids begin to worry and stress as early as preschool. Contrary to common belief, family, school and friends can be sources of anxiety for children. If you notice your children acting differently or straying off track, encourage communication by asking them how they feel and how they spent their day. Providing nutritious meals and encouraging healthy sleeping habits can help kids reduce stress.
Most common stressors for kids include:
- Over-scheduling programs and activities.
- Grades and performance.
- Family troubles.
- Relative's illness.
- Parent's arguments.
- World news.
Should I sign them up for extracurricular activities?
Getting kids involved in afterschool activities is healthy and beneficial. It raises children’s self-esteem, helps them build strong relationships and teaches them time-management skills. While getting kids involved and experienced in a variety of activities can stretch their minds and bodies, too much can create stress and physical pain. At a young age, kids need a balance of rest and physical activity.
If you are concerned about your child’s sleeping or eating habits, stress levels or physical health, stop by your local Velocity Care walk-in clinic for a wellness checkup. Also, be sure to download our back-to-school checklist to help you prepare and keep track of all your child’s health needs.
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This site offers medical, health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. General information found on this website is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your health care professional.