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Back to School, Back to School

Aug 5, 2016, 11:42 AM
students back to schoolit's a good idea to take a couple of steps to set students up for a safe, healthy year. Here are five back-to-school health tips to consider.
While schools won’t start until after the 2016 Iowa State Fair wraps up on August 21, 

1.Get vaccinated

Grinnell Regional Public Health follows the CDC’s recommendations for childhood vaccinations. The state of Iowa requires certain vaccinations for children entering school and seventh grade. Check with your primary provider and your school to make sure your child is protected. If you need a vaccine, call Grinnell Regional Public Health for an appointment at 641-236-2385. View the Immunization Clinic schedule at

2.Get rested

Transitioning to regular bedtimes for students the week prior to school’s start date will help make those first mornings of the school year less stressful and help students begin the year well rested. Most children and adolescents need more than eight hours of sleep each night. Teen bodies’ internal clocks often do change and they may want to sleep on a different schedule. Find a compromise that gets them enough sleep and gets them to school on time. To get younger kids ready to wake up for school, adjust their bedtimes a little earlier each night for a week or two before school starts. Sticking to a routine is important too – avoid adjusting bedtimes on weekends.

3.Get nourished

A healthy diet can have a huge impact on how well your child does during the school day. Start with a breakfast with protein, whole grains, fruits, and dairy. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 10 to 30 percent of the calories a child over age three takes in should come from protein. On average, this equates to 19 grams of protein daily for boys and girls aged 4 to 9, and 34 grams of protein per day for kids aged 9 to 13. As they reach adolescence, boys need more protein than girls. Between the ages 14 to 18, boys should get about 52 grams of protein daily, while girls need approximately 46 grams of protein per day.

4.Get sparkling

Well, kids don’t and won’t sparkle but you do want to teach them to have good hand washing and hygiene habits. Require that they wash their hands before every meal, after using the toilet, after sneezing, and anytime that their hands are dirty. It’s that simple! Teach your children to cover their cough with a tissue or elbow and to wash their hands afterward. Many school classrooms have hand sanitizer available to students with the admirable goal of minimizing the spread of germs in schools. Everyone can help!

5.Get comfortable

Starting school may be stressful for your child and you. Watch for stress-related health issues – not sleeping well, stomachaches, headaches, and withdrawn behavior. Help your child manage stress by engaging in conversation, and taking care not to overload schedules—including your own. Schoolwork and after-school activities are important, but taking time to relax, play, and spend time as a family is important in decompressing and fostering relationships. Build quiet time into the day to talk with your child and comfort them about stressors in their school day.

Remember that the healthy habits you create and enforce with your children during their school years will affect their habits as adults in the working world. You play an important role in their success now and in the future.