(PCM) Back-to-school season is upon us! With all the hustle and bustle of getting school supplies together, shopping for the latest fall fashions, and getting schedules in order, it’s easy to overlook the simple staples that can help make the school year a safe and healthy one.
Here’s a few tips to make sure you start the year off right!
Get 7-8 hours of sleep.
It may sound overrated, but getting a good night’s sleep is the best way to make it through the week. If you or your children have been staying up late or sleeping in all summer long, it’s time to get back into a routine and set a bedtime. Whether it’s at 9pm or 12am, setting a constant bedtime will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and help you feel as refreshed and energized as possible. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep every night.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for school-aged adolescents and young adults. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination. Adults who eat breakfast have also been found to work more efficiently and creatively in the workplace.
Don’t forget about lunch and snacks! Get healthy lunch ideas here
Keep your hands clean.
Wash your hands!! Handwashing is easy to do and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in and out of school. Make sure when you or your children are washing your hands, you use soap and water and lather for at least 20 seconds. Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol for situations when you can’t get to a bathroom.
Keep your backpack balanced.
School books and supplies can add up to one heavy backpack for a young person to carry day after day. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight. Make sure you’re only bringing the absolutely necessary items with you every day, to keep the weight down as much as possible. Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
Avoid the temptation to sling your backpack over one shoulder (it really doesn’t make you look that much cooler). Balance the weight of the bag evenly across your body: For the traditional backpack, wear both straps. For a messenger bag, wear it across your body. Too much weight on one side of your body can cause serious damage down the road. Same goes for handbags – keep it light, and avoid heavy, old-shoulder bags.
Leave expensive items at home
Leave the iPods, iPads, cameras, or whatever cool gadgets kids play with these days at home. Really, anything of value should be kept at home. School combinations can be shared, things can fall out of bags, and items can be left behind; the safest bet is to avoid the issue altogether. Cell phones are the main exception. They can come in handy for keeping in touch with parents and making calls in emergencies, but these, too, should be kept in lockers, or book bags. Label any items you wouldn’t want to lose, including books.
Always let an adult know where you are
Kids: Always let an adult know where you are at all times. The best way to stay safe is to make sure someone knows where to find you. The same goes for high school students: Just because you’re old enough to drive, doesn’t mean you can take off after school for hours without anyone knowing where you’re going. Accidents happen, and it helps if people know where you are.