Five health and wellness rules to live by this school year and beyond


At school, kids are exposed to a host of germs that can cause a number of preventable illnesses, including cold and flu. The most germ-infested school-based culprits include water fountains, plastic reusable cafeteria trays, keyboards, toilets and students’ hands.

To keep your family free from the sniffles all year long, here are five easy-to-follow tips to ensure a healthy, happy and absent-free school year.

1. Teach kids to wash their hands the right way.

It seems simple enough, but research shows that only 5 percent of people wash their hands properly. The CDC recommends following five simple steps: wet, lather, scrub (for at least 20 seconds), rinse and dry. Don’t forget backs of hands, between fingers and under the nails. Handwashing is the best defense against germs, but if soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer is a good alternative.

2. Sanitize school supplies.

Sanitize school supplies, lunch boxes, bottoms of backpacks, etc., weekly. These items are exposed to a variety of germs lurking in places such as gym lockers, desks and bathrooms. Use disinfecting wipes on plastic objects, and throw items like lunch boxes and backpacks in the wash. Send kids to school with disposable wipes so they can clean surfaces like desks, cafeteria trays and other surfaces throughout the day.

3. Set a sleep schedule.

A regular bedtime and an alert morning go hand-in-hand. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a calming nighttime routine like reading a book or taking a bath to signal the brain that it’s bedtime, and leave technology like tablets, laptops and cell phones out of the bedroom. If you’re wondering how much sleep your child needs each night, it’s recommended that toddlers receive 11 to 14 hours, preschoolers 10 to 13 hours, school-aged children nine to 11 hours, and teenagers eight to 10 hours.

4. Keep healthy snacks and meals on hand. 

A healthy, balanced diet has been proven to keep kids mentally sharp and focused, but fast-paced schedules during the school year can sometimes result in quick-fix, and often unhealthy, food choices. Keep nutritious grab-and-go snacks like trail mix and fruit at the ready. And don’t skip breakfast. It can mean decreased cognitive performance in areas like alertness, attention, memory and problem solving.

5. Nurse kids back to health.

Germs are lurking everywhere, so be prepared if sickness does strike. From hectic schedules to germ-ridden classrooms, the stress and environment of school can take a toll on kids’ health. Keep them healthier with a few simple strategies and you’ll be headed to a perfect attendance record.

Courtesy of StatePoint

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