Health Care Tips for Back-to-School Season


This month, we will explore a range of topics that bridge the gap between healthcare and the classroom. From preventative measures to promoting mental resilience, each tip is designed to empower parents and students with the knowledge they need to create a healthy and nurturing school environment. Whether you’re a seasoned pro at back-to-school routines or a newcomer to the academic scene, we invite you to explore our upcoming articles. Discover how sleep fuels young minds and how a balanced diet nurtures both body and brain. Dive into the world of mental health and learn how to create a supportive environment where students can thrive emotionally and mentally. And that’s just the beginning—our series covers everything from physical activity to screen time management, ensuring a comprehensive guide during the school year. Stay tuned for our upcoming articles packed with insights, statistics, and practical tips that will inspire healthier, happier, and more successful school days.


Healthy Sleep Habits: Rested Minds, Ready to Learn

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is essential. Adequate sleep enhances cognitive function and emotional well-being. Aim for age-appropriate sleep durations, and gradually adjust bedtime routines to help kids transition from summer mode to school mode.

Studies have shown from John Hopkins University that kids “who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and even depression.”

Lack of sleep can significantly impair children’s school performance, leading to a range of academic and cognitive challenges. Sleep is essential for consolidating learning and memory, and when children do not get adequate sleep, their ability to retain and recall information becomes compromised. Insufficient sleep can result in difficulties with concentration, attention, and problem-solving skills, making it harder for children to engage effectively in classroom activities. Moreover, sleep deprivation can negatively impact mood regulation, increasing irritability and emotional instability, which can further hinder their social interactions and overall classroom experience. Cumulatively, these effects of inadequate sleep can lead to decreased academic achievement, a reduced capacity to learn, and a diminished enthusiasm for school-related tasks. According to the CDC, “6 out of 10 middle school students do not get enough sleep and 7 out of 10 high school students do not get enough sleep.”

To ensure their children get enough sleep, parents can support the practice of good sleep habits. One important habit is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule during the school week and weekends. Parent-set bedtimes have been linked to getting enough sleep among adolescents. Evening light exposure and technology use are also associated with less sleep among adolescents. Parents can limit children’s permitted use of electronic devices in terms of time (e.g., only before a specific time, sometimes referred to as a “media curfew”) and place (e.g., not in their child’s bedroom) Other tips for better sleep are available at

Nutritious Meals: Fuel for Success

In the fast-paced world of education, parents, teachers, and students are constantly seeking ways to optimize learning and academic success. While many factors contribute to a child’s performance in school, one often overlooked yet vital aspect is nutrition. The food children consume plays a pivotal role in their cognitive development, concentration, energy levels, and overall well-being. Next, we’ll explore the profound impact of nutrition on children’s school performance and provide insights into fostering healthier eating habits.

Imagine a car without fuel struggling to move forward – similarly, a child’s brain requires the right nutrients to function optimally. Nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats provide the building blocks for brain cells and neurotransmitters. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in walnuts and fatty fish like salmon, have been linked to improved cognitive function, memory, and attention span.

A nutritious breakfast is often hailed as the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Complex carbohydrates like whole-grain cereals or oatmeal paired with proteins like eggs or yogurt release energy slowly throughout the morning, ensuring that a child remains focused and attentive in class. This steadier energy curve prevents the mid-morning energy crashes associated with sugary cereals or pastries.

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for sustained concentration and mood stability. Meals and snacks that are high in refined sugars can lead to rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, causing irritability, difficulty concentrating, and even aggressive behaviour. Opting for balanced meals with a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats helps regulate blood sugar and promotes more consistent cognitive function.

Emerging research highlights the intricate link between the gut and the brain. A healthy gut microbiome, fostered by a diet rich in fiber and fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, may positively influence cognitive function and mood. Gut health is thought to impact neurotransmitter production and inflammation levels, which can in turn affect behaviour and cognitive performance.

Just as certain foods support brain health, others can have the opposite effect. High-sugar snacks, sugary beverages, and heavily processed foods offer little nutritional value and can lead to energy crashes and poor focus. Minimizing these foods in children’s diets can contribute to improved academic performance.

Promoting a positive relationship with food and teaching children about the importance of balanced nutrition can set the stage for lifelong healthy eating habits. Involving children in meal planning and preparation can make them more invested in their food choices. Additionally, schools can play a role by offering nutritious meal options and educating students about making healthier food choices.

Nutrition plays a vital role in shaping children’s school performance. By providing the right nutrients, stabilizing energy levels, regulating blood sugar, and supporting gut health, parents and caregivers can enhance their children’s cognitive function, focus, and overall well-being. Encouraging healthy eating habits from a young age not only sets children up for academic success but also empowers them to lead healthier lives in the long run.


Proper Hydration: Water, the Ultimate Brain Boost

Hydration is often overlooked but plays a crucial role in cognitive function and overall health. As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, children can be introduced small amounts of water at the age of 6 months old. Children ages 1-3 need approximately 4 cups of beverages per day. This increases at the age of 4-8 years of age, when they require 5 cups per day. Older children should be drinking around 7-8 cups per day.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that even mild dehydration can lead to decreased children’s cognitive performance, including reduced attention, memory, and visual motor skills.


Physical Activity

In a world where technology often takes center stage, the simple act of moving the body is increasingly important, especially for children. Beyond its physical benefits, regular physical activity has a profound impact on children’s mood and academic performance. We will dive into the science behind how physical activity can positively influence children’s emotional well-being and enhance their school performance. Plus, we’ll share valuable insights on how parents can help their children get involved with physical activity.

Firstly, engaging in physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones. These endorphins interact with the brain’s receptors to reduce pain perception and create a sense of well-being. Not only does it boost your mood, but it also reduces stress and anxiety levels. For children, participating in activities like running, swimming, or even dancing can lead to improved emotional resilience and a more positive outlook on life.

Physical activity doesn’t just impact muscles – it stimulates brain function as well. Research shows that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn enhances cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and problem-solving. Children who regularly engage in physical activity tend to have better academic performance, as their improved cognitive function allows them to grasp concepts more effectively and retain information with greater ease.

Participating in group physical activities, whether it’s team sports or dance classes, encourages social interaction and develops interpersonal skills. Building friendships and working together towards a common goal enhances a child’s sense of belonging and self-confidence. These positive social experiences can spill over into the classroom, contributing to improved communication skills and a more positive attitude towards learning.

Lastly, while the benefits of physical activity are undeniable, it’s important to strike a balance between active time and academic commitments. Integrating movement breaks into study routines can help children stay focused and energized, without overwhelming their schedules.

How can parents get their kids to engage in physical activity?

  1. Lead by Example: Children are more likely to be active if they see their parents engaging in physical activities. Participate in family hikes, bike rides, or backyard games to make physical activity a fun family event.
  2. Offer Choices: Let your child explore different activities to find what they enjoy most. It could be team sports, dance, martial arts, or even hiking.
  3. Create a Routine: Incorporate physical activities into the daily routine. This could mean an after-school walk, a weekend park visit, or a fun home workout session.
  4. Make It Fun: Keep the focus on enjoyment rather than competition or performance. Organize family challenges, dance parties, or nature scavenger hunts.
  5. Limit Screen Time: Encourage breaks from screens and electronic devices by replacing that time with outdoor play or active indoor games.
  6. Support Extracurriculars: Enroll your child in organized sports or classes that interest them. This offers structure and social interaction.
  7. Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge your child’s efforts and achievements in physical activities. This boosts their confidence and motivation to continue.


Screen Time Balance: Protecting Eyes and Well-Being

With increasing reliance on digital devices for learning, it’s important to establish healthy screen time limits. Encourage breaks to reduce eye strain and promote physical activity.

Managing a child’s screen time can be challenging for families. Your child is never too young for a screen-time plan. Consider the following as a guideline:

  1. Until 2 years of age, screen time is not recommended, aside from video chatting with caring adults (ex. video calls with someone who lives out of town).
  2. For children 2 to 5 years old, limit sedentary screen time to about 1 hour per day.
  3. For ages 6 and older, encourage healthy habits and limit activities that include screens.
  4. Learn about and use parental controls.
  5. Maintain daily screen-free times.
  6. Avoid using screens as pacifiers, babysitters, or to stop tantrums.
  7. Turn off screens and remove them from bedrooms 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

Excessive screen time without breaks can lead to digital eye strain and mental fatigue. Encouraging breaks from screens allows students to rest their eyes and minds, leading to improved focus and attention during study sessions and classroom activities. This increased focus can contribute to better comprehension of material and more effective learning.


Hygiene and Illness Prevention: Healthy Habits

As the school bells ring and classrooms fill with eager students, the importance of health and hygiene takes center stage. Maintaining proper hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of illnesses among students, teachers, and staff. In this post, we’ll explore some eye-opening statistics that highlight the significance of hand hygiene in keeping schools healthy and students thriving.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 80% of common infections are spread by hands. From the common cold to more serious infections, practicing good hand hygiene can significantly reduce the risk of illness transmission.

Teach your child the importance of proper hygiene, including handwashing and covering their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Equip them with hand sanitizer for times when soap and water are not available. If your child is feeling unwell, it’s best to keep them home to prevent the spread of illness. Surprisingly, a study by the American Society for Microbiology found that only 58% of school-age children wash their hands after using the restroom. Encouraging proper handwashing practices can make a substantial difference in preventing the spread of germs.

The CDC estimates that nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to the common cold alone. Hand hygiene education can contribute to a decrease in absenteeism, ensuring that students spend more time learning and less time recovering. Research conducted by hygiene experts shows that shared items like doorknobs, water fountains, and desks can harbor viruses for up to 48 hours. Regular handwashing and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces can break the chain of infection transmission.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends washing hands for at least 40-60 seconds, with an emphasis on scrubbing all parts of the hands, including the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails. However, 60 or more seconds is the most effective when it comes to hand hygiene. Yet, surveys indicate that the average handwashing time is closer to 6 seconds.

The statistics paint a clear picture of the impact of hand hygiene on preventing illness in schools. As students return to the classroom, instilling proper handwashing practices becomes paramount. By raising awareness about the significance of hand hygiene, schools can create healthier environments that contribute to improved attendance, better academic performance, and overall student well-being. Let’s embrace this simple yet powerful preventive measure and pave the way for a successful and illness-free school year.



As the back-to-school season unfolds, it’s evident that the fusion of education and health creates a foundation for students’ success. From ensuring proper hand hygiene and quality sleep to managing screen time and mental well-being, each facet contributes to a well-rounded academic journey. By heeding these back-to-school tips, parents and caregivers can empower their children to excel not only in the classroom but also in their overall growth and development.



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