Contributed by expert contributor: Dr. Nevine A. El Kabbany, Specialist Paediatrician, Mediclinic Welcare Hospital.
Schools are an important part of the infrastructure of our community AND play a critical role in supporting the child’s health and wellbeing.
Going back to school will likely look different this year due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Children can easily transfer infections to one another and bring them home, but by teaching them some important healthy habits, parents can feel reassured about their child and family’s health.
Teach Good Hygiene Habits
A proper hand washing technique along with social distancing and the use of masks have proven to be the best way to minimise the spread of viruses.
We should teach our kids how to wash their hands properly especially after blowing their nose, using the bathroom and before eating. One of the ways this can be done is by encouraging them to sing the alphabet or their favorite song from beginning to the end. They should make sure to wash the fronts and the backs of their hands as well as in between their fingers.
Don’t have a tissue? Teach your kids to cough or sneeze into their elbow to prevent spreading germs.
Visit The Doctors Office
An annual check-up will ensure your kids are healthy and virus free before heading back to school. Of course, the most effective way to prevent disease is through vaccinations. Make sure their immunizations are up to-date. Flu vaccines are heavily recommended for all school-age children to reduce the spread of influenza this autumn and winter.
Children require regular healthy meals and snacks to give them the energy and nutrients they need to grow and fight off illness.
- Provide a healthy breakfast
- Make lunchtime fun
- Stay hydrated
Kids typically sit most of their school day, so incorporating sports and exercise into their daily routine will keep them focused, improve their behavior and boost their positive attitude.
Get bedtimes back on track
Making sure your children get enough sleep is a crucial part of keeping them healthy. Children aged from seven to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Preteens and teens need eight to nine hours.
Manage back-to-school stress/anxiety
Sources of anxiety vary with age – and can affect kindergartners to teens leaving for college.
The key is to personalize it to each child. For some kids this might mean writing in a journal while others might enjoy playing a board game or going for walk. However, if your child seems more distressed than what you think is normal, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s doctor.
In conclusion, keeping your child’s immune system strong is an important way to stay healthy and ward off illness during the school year. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress, exercising, making time to laugh, and emphasizing hand washing can help reduce your child’s risk of getting colds, flu, and other infections.
Authored by Dr. Nevine A. El Kabbany
Mediclinic Welcare Hospital, Mediclinic Mirdif
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