Help your child start the school year off right. They can feel their best and increase the chance of avoiding injury by following these simple tips from Sandra Flaishmakher, MD, a pediatrician at TriHealth's Oxford Pediatrics:
Provide Nutritious Lunches and Snacks
- Serve brown, not white, starches. Brown rice, pastas and grains have more fiber than their white counterparts. “Fiber helps regulate digestion,” says Dr. Flaishmakher.
- Prepare healthy snacks that can be eaten on the run. Place baby carrots in plastic bags and put them in the refrigerator. Slice apples and add lemon to the plastic bag to prevent browning.
Sidestep Sports Injuries
- Make sure your child wears a helmet when biking, skating or participating in any activity that could lead to a head injury.
- Avoid dehydration. “Up to age 9, kids should drink one cup of water for every year of life per day,” says Dr. Flaishmakher. “Older kids should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.” Avoid soda and other caffeinated drinks, which can lead to dehydration. To make water more palatable, flavor it with fruit, such as strawberries, grapes, lemons or limes.
- Slather sunscreen on your child before he or she heads outside for a sports practice or a playdate.
Help Your Child Get Enough Sleep
- Kids ages 6 through 12 should sleep nine to 12 hours per night, and teens up to age 18 should get eight to 10 hours of sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Turn off electronics at least two hours before bed. Screens trick the brain into thinking it’s the middle of the day.
- If your child is eating a large dinner, serve it to him or her at least two hours before bedtime. Otherwise, it could disrupt sleep.
- If your child showers before bed, encourage warm—not hot—ones. A hot shower could keep him or her awake.