Back to school may bring to mind more thoughts of backpacks and class supplies, but pediatrician Anna Lee, M.D. from North County Pediatrics in Oceanside knows that considering the overall health of your child is just as important as their notebook size. Dr. Lee has highlighted four important areas of health to consider as your child goes back to school.GET PLENTY OF ZZZZZ’S:
Sleep is crucial. “As a rule of thumb, I would recommend elementary age children get 10+ hours per night, middle school 9+ hours, and high school and beyond 8+ hours.” Dr. Lee notes that good sleep hygiene includes keeping electronic devices out of bedrooms during sleep and turning off electronics 30 minutes before bed.AN APPLE A DAY:
Good nutrition that is full of fresh produce is brain fuel for school days. Dr. Lee offers a few tricks for those who don’t like breakfast…“Try using leftovers from dinner (who said you can’t have some pot roast from dinner?). To create a new meal add in scrambled eggs and wrap in a whole wheat tortilla for a breakfast burrito or try a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich with a banana. If time is short in the morning make a smoothie with frozen berries/banana with greek yogurt and milk (can also add some nut butter) for an easy drink on way to school.”GET MOVING:
Regular exercise is important for physical and mental health. Dr. Lee says, “Being involved with extracurricular activities that promote physical activity is easier in younger age groups who are more naturally inclined to be physically active. When the academic load starts to encroach on a student’s commitment to physical activity, remember that a well-planned exercise routine can “reboot” their brain so they can better focus on the task at hand. Think of quality of time studying, not quantity!”
We usually associate stress and pressure with adults but kids are dealing with various stressors of school, in the classroom and on the playground. As Dr. Lee says, “It is important for children to feel safe in their school surroundings, both physically and emotionally. Watch for signs of being bullied in school. Stay engaged with your child’s circle of friends and their parents. Keep close tabs on your teenager’s social media (if allowed to have social media–it’s ok if you don’t!!). Most importantly, spend uninterrupted time (short or long) with your child so that you are better in tune with your child.”
Dr. Anna Lee is a board-certified pediatrician who’s been working in private practice for over 17 years. She’s a mom of two boys, ages 9 & 11, and enjoys being out with her husband and kids bicycling, hiking and enjoying our local beaches. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Lee as one of Carlsbad Lifestyle’s Team Specialists to share her expertise with our readers.
Whether your little one is heading off to their first day of preschool or first day of college, remember these tips to have a healthy, happy and safe school year.