Tips for How to Stay Healthy and Happy This School Year

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How to Stay HealthyNow that school is back in session, you are probably wondering how to make it a great experience for both your child and your family. Before becoming a work-at-home mom to my daughter, I was a school teacher for six years and have a few insider's tips for how to stay healthy and happy this year.  Keep reading to learn more!

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Top 5 Tips for How to Stay Healthy and Happy in School:

1.  Give Children the Proper Fuel to Succeed

As a former Science teacher, I've read numerous articles and studies about the correlation of proper nutrition to a child's academic success.  There have actually been entire schools of at-risk students whose behavior underwent a complete 180-degree turn for the better, simply by incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets while reducing their amount of processed, sugar-filled foods.

Pack a healthy, balanced lunch for your child and make sure they always start the day with a satisfying and nutritious breakfast.  I'll even really go out on a limb here and tell you not to have your child eat in the school cafeteria.  Some schools will always prove to be the exception to the rule, but it is alarming at how fast food and fat-laden, processed choices have even infiltrated most school cafeterias.

Purell Hand Sanitizer2.  Make Hygiene a Major Priority

Schools are a playground for germs of all kinds, some very common like the cold virus or influenza, and others much more serious, like  MRSA and spinal meningitis.  I was always a healthy gal, until I became a school teacher.  Then it seemed I was constantly sick for six years, except of course, in the summer time.  The point is, your child should understand just how important proper hygiene is in the plan for how to stay healthy and happy.

Make sure they wash their hands every chance they get and pack their pencil box or school backpack with a tiny bottle of PURELL Hand Sanitizer.  That way, they can always reduce the risk of getting sick, especially if they've been in high transmission situations like touching multiple door handles, playing with sports equipment or being around someone who is obviously sick themselves.

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3.  Active Play Every Day

After teaching for just a relatively short amount of time, I was quickly appalled at just how sedentary our kids have become.  Where are the typical children of days gone by?  The ones which have a boundless amount of energy and that literally CANNOT sit still?  Children used to remind me of the bouncy Tigger character, but now are more like Eeyore.  They don't want to move and they'd rather sit inside and tap in to the latest technology.

PLEASE DON'T LET THEM!  Make it mandatory for your children to get outside and play, every day.  In my state, school programs are rapidly losing their physical education time and children are suffering for it.  When children are young, active movement actually helps brain development and the more children veg out inside, the more they are stunting their own academic growth as well as falling prey to obesity and other health problems.

Kids Playing Outside

4.  Get Involved and Take an Interest in What They're Doing

This seems like a tip that almost doesn't need to be said, but unfortunately, it does.  I saw far too many cases of child neglect while teaching school and it wasn't always intentional.  We live in a world where our to-do lists are increasingly long, yet our time seems to vanish before our eyes.  Please dedicate as much time as you can to staying involved in your child's life.  You should always be aware of what's going on in school, who they are hanging out with, what their hobbies are, etc.

Middle school seemed to be the years that were the most precarious and when well-meaning parents got a little too busy, good kids started being wooed by bad influences.  The results were definitely not pretty and parents are the first line of defense here.  Just remember, if your child is seeking attention and you are not readily available, they'll find someone else to give them the attention they need.  I believe that our countries gang problem is basically based on a child's need to be accepted and loved.

5.  Eliminate "Mature" Technology and Lessen the Bullying Effect

Finally, I'm going to get on my soapbox a bit here and express my own view of the technology that we all rely so heavily on.  I'm a technology nut and am in no way saying that technology is bad, for I don't know what I'd do without it.  Unfortunately, it is my belief that technology is a mature responsibility that children are simply ill-prepared to handle.

Personally, I can say without hesitation that my daughter will not have a cell phone, nor a social media account until she is old enough to have a job and drive a car.  This may sound harsh, but the reality of young children owning technology that they are not mature enough for is even harsher.  As a teacher, I've seen so many instances of sexting and bullying through both texting and Facebook accounts, that it would make your head swim.

There have even been numerous instances of children committing suicide because they just couldn't handle the barrage of online bullying that they were being subjected to.  My daughter's self-image and self-esteem are two of her most prized possessions and it's my duty as a parent to try and have her emerge from her teen years with both of these items still firmly intact.

In my opinion, children are still children, yet technology has no real filters or boundaries, because in the end, it isn't made for children.  If you eliminate or greatly reduce your child's access to cell phones and social media accounts, I believe that you will also greatly lessen their chances at being bullied, thus keeping their focus on more positive things.

What tips do you have for keeping your kids happy and healthy in a brand new school year?
Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and PURELL® Hand Sanitizer blogging program, to earn My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

Melissa
Melissa @ Mommy Living the Life of Riley!
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