Healthy Classrooms Start at Home: Back-to-School Tips for Parents
As the summer draws to a close and the new school year approaches, parents are gearing up to prepare their children for a successful and healthy academic journey. From school supply shopping to registering for sports and other extracurricular activities, there’s a lot to keep track of with fall coming and back-to-school excitement in the air.
Healthy Back-to-School Tips for Parents
Amidst the lingering challenges and heightened awareness of healthy habits in our post-pandemic era, prioritizing our children's physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is essential. As part of a Christian health-sharing community, our members are here to support each other and one another’s families during all phases of life. Here, we'll share valuable tips for Christian parents to ensure their children stay healthy, happy, and resilient throughout the upcoming school year.
Boost Immune Health
Boosting our children's immune systems is more important than ever, especially as they return to busy, bustling classrooms full of other children, teachers, and administrators. Set a regular bedtime so your child gets enough sleep, and encourage them to engage in regular physical activity and spend time outdoors to help strengthen their immunity.
A well-balanced diet plays a crucial role in supporting a child's growth and physical health. Provide nutritious meals that include a variety of plant-based foods, whole grains and proteins. A diet rich in whole foods such as fruits and vegetables can have immune-boosting properties, so ensure packed lunches and after-school snacks include healthy and tasty treats like apples, berries and carrots.
Additionally, emphasize the importance of hydration by encouraging your kids to drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you’ve got a picky eater or two, consider supplementing their diet with vitamins and minerals to further support their immune health. Always consult your child’s healthcare professional to determine what is safe and best for their specific needs.
Practice Healthy Hygiene Habits
Teach your children the importance of maintaining healthy hygiene habits to protect themselves and others from infections. Reinforce the practice of frequent handwashing with soap and water, and remind them to use hand sanitizers when necessary. Teach them to cover their mouths and noses while sneezing or coughing at home and in public spaces.
Flossing and brushing teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste will help build and maintain a healthy smile. Regular baths and showers may be met with resistance, but talking openly with your children about the importance of cleanliness can help encourage good habits.
Balance Screen Time and Stay Involved in Activities
In our digital age, managing screen time is essential for our children’s well-being. Set reasonable limits on recreational phone, tablet, and computer usage, encouraging participation in other activities, such as reading, hobbies, sports, and spending quality time with family and friends. Children learn by observing, so set a good example by putting your devices away during mealtimes and while helping with homework so your children see the importance of focusing on the task at hand and being actively engaged.
Make time for regular family devotions where you read the Bible together, discuss what was read, what’s on your hearts and pray for each other. This practice not only strengthens your child’s spiritual foundation but also fosters a strong sense of support within the family. At Liberty HealthShare, we assist with this by sending a devotional each Monday to start our members’ weeks off strong.
As a parent, you can also be an active participant in your child's school activities, such as parent-teacher conferences, PTA meetings, games, and events. Being actively involved allows you to understand their educational progress, behavior, relationships with other students and any potential areas where they may need support.
Address Mental and Spiritual Health
Heading back to school causes a shift in routine and increased pressure that can take a toll on children no matter their age. Stress can wreak havoc on the immune system and lead to numerous physical and mental issues. Pay attention to your child's emotional well-being and be attentive to any signs of stress or anxiety.
Create an open and safe space for them to share their feelings. Have regular conversations about school, friendships, and any challenges your child may be facing. If necessary, seek professional counseling or guidance from a pastor or trusted Christian mentor.
Encourage your children to start each day with prayer and gratitude. Cultivating a habit of prayer and thankfulness will help them navigate any uncertainties they may face at school. Remind them to be grateful for their teachers, friends and the opportunity to learn. Encourage them to pray for their classmates, teachers, and school staff to foster a sense of compassion and empathy.
Take advantage of everyday moments to instill biblical values in your children. Discuss kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and integrity, as well as how these values can be applied in their daily interactions with peers and teachers. Teaching them to follow the principles found in the Bible will help them navigate life's challenges with faith and resilience.
Start the School Year Off Strong
A parent’s responsibility extends beyond merely preparing children for the academic year with new schedules and school uniforms. Whether home-schooling or sending your children off to a new academic building, there is a lot to manage to ensure they are healthy and successful.
Nurture their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being so they may shine as beacons of faith, hope, and love in their schools and communities. By emphasizing prayer, gratitude, healthy habits, and biblical values, we can equip our little ones with the tools they need to thrive both academically and spiritually.
Healthy habits start at home with the support of a like-minded community. If you’re interested in learning more about Liberty HealthShare’s Christian medical cost-sharing programs, contact us today.