(Texas) – It’s back-to-school season for students across Texas, which means there will be some major adjustments families may need to work through.
Those adjustments do not have to cause a huge disruption in a child’s life or health, if parents learn how they can help their student get situated ahead of time.
A big change for children as they make the switch from summer mode to school is their sleep. The demands of back-to-school schedules can make getting adequate sleep seem daunting. However, it is possible and essential for a calmer, more productive school year.
“A good night’s sleep helps the body repair itself, promotes growth, builds a strong immune system and even enhances memory and problem-solving abilities,” said Dr. David Larsen, family medicine physician with CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic.
Larsen suggests starting a child’s new bedtime routine days, if not weeks ahead of the start of school. He says it is important to have a consistent schedule, going to bed and waking up and the same time each day, to regulate the body’s internal clock.
Adequate exercise can also play a key role in child development.
“Ideally, children would do a combination of exercises to include aerobatic activities like swimming, cycling and dancing, along with muscle-strengthening exercises like push-ups, climbing, and gymnastics,” Larsen said. “Along with bone-strengthening activities like jumping, skipping, and sports with quick movements, like basketball and soccer, can really help optimize growth, boost mood, energy and overall well-being.”
Along with sleep and exercise, Dr. Courtney Smith, a pediatrician with CHRISTUS Children’s, says there are some key elements to keep in mind: a healthy diet, good hygiene, stress management, staying hydrated and remaining up to date on vaccinations.
“All of these play a vital role in keeping our little ones healthy, so it’s important to ensure we’re loading them up on nutrient rich food that will provide them with the necessary vitamins to help fight germs,” Smith said. “But we need to also continue teaching our children to properly wash their hands frequently and to stay home when they’re feeling ill.”
Another back-to-school tip involved kids wearing their backpacks correctly, to avoid any damage to their spines.
“Toting around heavy backpacks can lead to neck pain, bad posture, muscle strains, and even nerve compression,” Larsen said. “Try to carry what is only necessary and make sure to choose a backpack with padded straps and multiple compartments to distribute the weight more evenly.”
Larsen also added that an often-overlooked aspect to returning to school is time management, both from parents and students.
“Time management is one of the keys to student academic success,” he said. “Learn how to manage and make time for studying, activities, and relaxation.”
To learn more back-to-school tips, visit www.christushealth.org
About CHRISTUS Health
At CHRISTUS Health, we deliver a complete healing experience that respects the individual. We serve our communities with dignity. And with a good deal of admiration. CHRISTUS Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit system made up of more than 600 centers, including community hospitals, urgent care centers, health insurance companies and physician clinics. We are a community of 45,000 Associates, with over 15,000 physicians providing individualized care—and all focused on our charitable mission. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston and San Antonio and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, our mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to every individual we serve.