Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Ask the School Nurse: Parents' Top 9 Questions for Back to School

    Worried about flu? Stress? Colds? Our school health expert answers your questions about keeping children healthy.

    Getting Your Kids Off to a Healthy School Start

    Need some more basic tips on keeping kids healthy? Follow these guidelines:

    Healthy lunches for kids

    Primary colors. Load up their lunchboxes with a colorful mix of fruits and vegetables to keep them energized and ready to learn. Apples, pears, berries, dried fruit, baby carrots, cauliflower, and edamame are easy to pack -- and fun to eat.

    Fluid motion. Drinking plenty of fluids helps active children stay hydrated. But not all drinks are created equal. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids who drink one can of soda a day increase their obesity risk by 60%. Offer water and limit soft drinks (some can pack 150 calories per 12-ounce can).

    The whole truth. Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet for kids. Offer whole grain, low-sugar cereals at breakfast and low-sodium whole grain snack bars or crackers in their lunch box. Try making sandwiches with whole grain bread (look for "100 percent whole wheat" on labels to get the most grains).

    Dairy queen. Strengthen their bones and brains with nonfat or low-fat dairy foods, including yogurt and flavored milk (choose products with no more than 30 grams of sugar).

    Exercise for children

    Class action. Don't assume your child is getting enough physical activity at school. Giving kids a chance to move and get their heart rates up before studying makes it easier for them to learn. Ask your child's teacher about having the class do jumping jacks, run in place, and other quick exercises in between classroom activities.

    Power hour. Make sure your kids run around for at least an hour each day. Don't have a full hour for exercise? Try short 15-minute bursts of running, jumping, or games that encourage these activities to keep them interested and active.

    Family affair. Busy families tend to skip physical activities together. Bond with your kids and boost the whole family's health by planning family bike rides, walks, or other exercise you can all do together.

    Stress reduction for children

    Slow start. Want to help make the start of school easier -- and halt the moans and groans before they begin? Set up back-to-school routines early and ease kids into them gradually. Push back bed and wake-up times by 15 minutes each week, for example.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Slideshow
    Young woman holding lip at dentists office
    Video
     
    Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    tissue box
    Quiz
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow