The end of the summer is approaching, and back to school time is near. For many families this means new schedules, fall sports, school activities and a brand new school year ahead. This change can be stressful for both children and their parents. However, there are things that can be done to prepare for a healthy and happy new season. Here are some tips to make easing into back to school a success.
Going back to school can leave you exposed to new germs so a healthy immune system is important to fight off the bacteria and viruses. Proper nutrition, water consumption, sleep, physical activity, and stress management all play a role in a healthy immune system. A well balanced diet with 6-8 glasses of water will give your body all of the essentials that it needs to stay strong. Citrus foods and leafy greens are also known to be immune boosters and contain antioxidants that may increase your infection fighting ability. Chiropractic also promotes a healthy immune system. The nervous system controls the immune system so by removing any potential nerve interference can ensure that the communication from the brain to the rest of the body is functioning optimally.
Long hours of sitting at a desk while in class or studying can lead to a slouched posture. We tend to round our shoulders and with that our neck and chin also move forward. Sitting like this for prolonged periods of time can lead to upper back and neck discomfort along with headaches. It is a good idea to take frequent breaks to stand up and change positions for a bit. Just think how sore and tired your arms would get if you held them out in front of you for an hour. Things would get pretty uncomfortable. This is similar to what happens to the muscles in your neck and upper back if you are in a position too long without moving. Regular chiropractic care can help alleviate chiropractic problems related to postural issues.
Backpacks can be useful for carrying the books and materials back and forth between home and school. It is important to remember that too much weight in a backpack can cause strain on the back. It should not be heavier than 10-20 percent of your bodyweight. Along with keeping within a certain overall weight, the heaviest items should be held closest to the body. Both straps should be worn snugly on the shoulders so that the weight is distributed evenly. This can help prevent muscle imbalances and spinal misalignment. If you do start to experience aches and pains don’t wait, visit a chiropractor before it gets worse.
Adjusting to all of the changes that a new school year brings can be stressful. Being prepared can cut down on some of things that make you feel overwhelmed. For example, make a routine of getting your outfit ready and having the backpacks with homework done and lunches packed the night before to simplify your morning routine. Sitting down each Sunday and making a plan for the upcoming week will help you stay organized. Plan to grocery shop for what you will need for dinners that week. Look at the calendar to see what events are scheduled for each day in the upcoming week and come up with a plan so that everyone knows what to expect each day. Then, should something come up, it will be less of a hassle to add it in or adjust things. Try not to procrastinate. Getting started on assignments right away gives you the time you need and will eliminate the stress of being rushed or perhaps not meeting the deadline.
Things can get busy this time of year. With fall sports and activities starting back up, school events, and homework, it is important to remember that enough rest also plays an important role in your health. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children ages 6-12 get 9 to 12 hours of sleep per day and 8-10 hours of sleep per day for teenagers in a 24 hour period.1 Adequate amounts of sleep lead to improved attention, learning, memory, emotional, mental and physical health.1 Adults not only need to make sure their children are getting enough sleep but also see that they are getting enough z’s themselves.
This year as summer vacation draws to an end, incorporating some of these simple tips can make going back to school easier. As you establish a solid routine for your family you will be teaching your children skills that will make them healthier and happier in their lives. Proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, posture, physical activity and stress management and chiropractic care are key areas that can help keep you healthy and happy throughout the entire school year and for all of your years to come. Here’s to a great school year!
Paruthi S. et al. J Clin Sleep Med. 2016 June 15;12 (6):785-6 doi.10.5664/jcsm.5866 Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: a consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.