Back to School Health and Fitness

Get an A in wellness with these routines and reminders.

Back to school health - mother placing lunch in child's backpack
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While you're making your shopping and to-do lists, make time for some back-to-school health and fitness updates. Start the school year on a healthier note to reduce stress and lower the risk of illness and injury for everyone in your household.

  • Make sure kids are well rested. Spend one to two weeks adjusting bedtimes so that kids are accustomed to going to sleep and waking up on a school-year schedule. If you have a new a.m. schedule this year (like a changed bus pick-up time or an earlier first school bell), practice getting ready for that. 
  • Check your supplies—not just pencils and erasers, but those items that improve your child's health, such as water bottles, hand sanitizer, and tissues. Make sure she has gym shoes that fit and that she has up-to-date gear for any sports she'll be playing once school resumes.
  • Choose a backpack that protects your child's spine and will help him avoid back pain from an overloaded, ill-fitting pack.
  • Pack your bags for sports practices and games. Make one go-to tote bag for each sport that each of your children plays—so one holds soccer cleats and shin guards, another swimsuits and goggles, and so on. Then make a "spectator" bag too, with items such as a blanket for sitting on the grass or bleachers, post-game snacks, and so on. If you'll be spending a lot of time hanging around at practices, consider bringing some walking shoes and fitting in your own workout while you wait!
  • Schedule doctor's appointments as needed: school or sports physicals, eye exams, immunizations, and so on. Have the doctor sign any forms you'll need if your child takes medicine at school.
  • Get ready to get to school. If your child will be riding his bike, make sure his bicycle is tuned up, that he has a padlock and a helmet that fits properly, and that you can count on him to practice good bike safety. If he'll walk to school (read 5 reasons why he should!), practice the route if it's new. Or organize a "walking school bus" (in which parents take turns escorting a group of kids to school on foot) in your neighborhood; if you ride bikes together, it's called a "bike train."
  • Plan a few weeks' worth of healthy dinners, even if you're not usually a meal planner. You'll eliminate some end-of-day, empty-fridge stress as you adjust to a new routine.
  • Set up a school lunch strategy too, whether that means checking out the school's lunch menu or making a shopping list for packing your own healthy school lunches.
  • Plan breakfasts too. You don't want your kid going to school cranky. These quick breakfast ideas will help you get through the morning at home, and help your child get through the morning at school too.
  • Revisit your own workout schedule. Speaking of stress, you'll probably experience some as you help your family make the transition from summer to school. So find time for exercise, whether it's on your own or with your family (think after-dinner walks or weekend kickball games). 

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