Getting a Jump on Healthy Back to School Habits

by • July 7, 2016 • August 2016, Community

Children across the county are bemoaning the end of summer and the nearing of the beginning of the new school year. Parents serve as the back-to-school cruise director and are in charge of purchasing pencils and erasers and negotiating the perfect outfit for the first day back. It’s also a good time to get your family back-on-track with healthy habits.

Often, the start of a new academic year can also cause fear and anxiety for children, especially if he or she is attending a new school for the first time. CalOptima, the health insurance provider for thousands of adults and children throughout Orange County, offers these helpful tips to make back-to-school a positive experience for the entire family:

Be Mindful of Stressors: stress can be a good thing especially if your child is being challenged in new ways. On the other hand, having stress for long periods of time can be harmful to their individual health. You can help your son or daughter combat and reduce their stress by setting easily achieved goals and deadlines, planning out their daily schedule and setting aside a specific time in the day for them to relax and decompress.

Test Your Child’s Vision: a child who is struggling in the classroom because they can’t read what is in front of them or see what the teacher is writing on the board may fall behind. Make an appointment with your child’s physician to make sure that his or her vision is in check and whether glasses are needed.

Double-Check for Needed Vaccinations: whether your child is starting kindergarten, or middle school, vaccinations are an important tool that can help him or her remain healthy throughout the year. Older children, including those in high school and college, also need extra protection – immunizations can help prevent them from catching highly contagious ailments such as whooping cough, meningitis and more.

Establish Study and Screen Time Routines: while summer is the one time of year when studying is rare and screen time restrictions go out the window, it’s important to re-establish good study habits. Limit the time your child spends in front of the TV, smart phone or tablet, and promote activities such as interactive board games or riding their bike to keep his or her mind engaged once homework is completed.

Set a Specific Bedtime: your child needs a good night’s sleep in order to function well at school. Having your child go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning is essential for a healthy and productive school year.

Lastly, schedule a time to meet your child’s new teacher and tour the school – this helps to reduce any lingering fears or anxieties. It also helps to insure that your son or daughter’s school year gets off to a good start.

CalOptima is a county organized health system, and provides publicly funded health care coverage for low-income children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities in Orange County. In total, CalOptima serves more than 730,000 members with a network of more than 7,000 primary care doctors and specialists, as well as 30 hospitals.

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