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9 Ways to Prepare Your Child For a Successful School Year

The first day of school was a memorable moment in our lives. It was memorable because it marked our first sense of freedom, the first time we met our best friends, our first crushes and our favorite teachers. As for me, I remember my first day of school as being the day that my mother prepared me as if I was going into battle.

Equipped with Kleenex tissues, Band Aids, and emergency contact phone numbers, it was at that moment that I realized my mother was ensuring that I’d be the healthiest kid in class for years to come. As it turns out, she actually did a great job and prepping me for just about anything while I was at school, and my perfect attendance and no sick days, ended up being something I was eventually proud of. Now, as protective as my mother may sound, any parent will attest to the fact that the health and well-being of their child is of the utmost importance, and sending them into the metaphorical lions den that is the germ infested world of school, can be pretty daunting.

9 Ways to Prepare Your Child For a Successful School Year

Setting a tone for the school year with your child, especially with the things that concern them outside of the classroom, is actually a very smart way to help keep your child educated about the many things they'll need to do to keep from getting sick or having aches and pains. Doing all you can to make sure that from day one, until the end of the year, your child is better able to learn, to have fun and to experience their schooling for all it has to offer because they’re fit and healthy, is something all parents strive to do. Everything from your child's backpack to their tennis shoes, has a deep impact on how healthy they are, so why not get to know just how and why these things truly matter to the health of your child?

1. Check For Good Posture

Often overlooked, good posture isn’t something we as adults tend to think about very frequently, let alone the posture of our children. However, just as with adults, proper posture goes a long way in terms of ensuring that you’re in good health. Good posture is often defined as, “the position attained by the body as a whole when the joints are not bent or twisted and the spine is properly aligned.”  In its truest form, while standing, there should be a vertical alignment of your body from the top of your head, all the way to your feet. When viewing good posture, the spine and head are straight and not curved or leaning to either side in any way. Constant checks and reminders to your child, as well as demonstrations, help guide them, help them establish good habits, and enable them to understand proper alignment of the spine. Correct alignment enables the body to function at its highest level, and this means that your health is far more likely to be in good standing. A posture checklist is also a good way to know if you’re really following the rules when it comes to your back and overall health.

2. Help Them Understand How to Lift & Carry

Even as small children, the back is involved in all of our daily activities; as children continue to grow, they are called upon to move, bend, twist, lift and carry more and more. When school aged children first enter the classroom, they are generally equipped with a backpack, books, writing utensils, a lunch box, and any other piece of apparatus that their school day asks for them to have with them at all times. Teaching children proper lifting techniques, as well as how to carry objects in the correct manner will save them from strain on the joints, and will help to ensure that the health of their spine is as it should be. Helping your child better understand how to wear their backpack, can make their school life pain free. This comprehensive backpack guide from Palmer College of Chiropractic, gives you everything you need to know and look for when outfitting your child with a backpack. Lifting and carrying items can be tricky for children, simply because they are often asked to carry items that are a little larger than their own bodies, or of an odd shape, requiring them to maneuver awkwardly to fit their arms around and carry. This helpful set of rules to remember from MIT, is a great way to familiarize your child with proper lifting and carrying techniques.

3. Utilize Chiropractic Care

So, along with these great tips and tricks to keeping the posture and overall health of your child at a high level, regular chiropractic care is also a great way to ensure that you’re giving your child the best possible chance at living a healthy life and practicing habits that are beneficial to their overall well-being. Due to the fact that the use of chiropractic care for ailments, especially those other than nagging neck or back pain is still relatively new, many parents are uneasy about using chiropractics as a method of care for their children. However, with that said, according to a recent Northwestern University study, since 2010, chiropractics is the most common type of complementary and alternative form of care for school aged children. The results of the study showed that roughly 90 million pediatric visits were made to chiropractors in the United States, Canada and Europe alone in 2007.Take a look at some of these other reasons why chiropractics should be a regular part of your child’s growth and development:

-Helps you as a parent to stay on track with the progress and growth of your child and their musculoskeletal system.

-Gives you a chance to ask any and all questions in regards to the health of your child.

-Helps prevent against common childhood ailments such as ear infections, nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting), and growing pains.

-Strengthens the immune system and the central nervous system, guards against the flu and common cold.

4. Instill Proper Nutrition & Regular Exercise

Now, aside from the many ways in which you as a parent can care for your child's physical health, there are also a plethora of ways in which you can aim to fortify the health of your little one’s in the foods they eat and the activities in which they participate in. Because the early years in a child’s life are of the utmost importance, especially when it comes to the growth of their bodies and their minds, feeding them a wide array of healthy foods is best to try to optimize their health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has long since implemented guidelines on how and what school aged children (roughly 2-8 years old), should eat regularly in order to maintain healthy bones, muscles, brains and everything in between. A person’s eating habits are typically established as young as 2 to 3 years old, therefore, a child that regularly eats a diet rich in vegetables at a young age is more likely to eat vegetables as an adult, and have the trend continue on down the line within their family. On the flip side, the same is true for unhealthy things like fast foods and sugary sodas. So, a lot of weight is put directly on just how much proper nutrition, eating habits and an emphasis on health is taught to children early on in life.

Eating well is a large part of how a child learns to be healthy as they grow, and so too is regular exercise. Teaching children to be active, having them move and expel energy is not only good for their bodies, it’s good for their brains too. A recent Virginia Tech study showed that being active and releasing any extra energy may help a child pay better attention to learning activities, as well as help them to drift off and rest better at night. According to the U.S government's newly implemented Lets Move campaign that was implemented to help get children moving and create a healthier generation, children should be active for at least 60 minutes each day. This doesn’t mean you need to run children ragged everyday to the point of exhaustion, but as long as they’re moving, research shows that a child will receive great mental and physical health benefits.

5. Be sure to check the fit and feel of any shoes your child is wearing. Poorly fitting shoes can lead to incorrect walking, posture and misalignment of the joints and spine.

6. Ensure that your children's clothing fits correctly, as children grow at a rapid rate, clothing that does not fit correctly can restrict blood circulation throughout the body, and cause serious health issues.

7. Have your child’s eyes checked before each school year, as reading and writing is prominent in the classroom, healthy eyes are a necessity.

8. Always tend to any cuts, bruises or scrapes that your child may have. Even something as simple as a band aid, is usually a good form of preventative measure against infection.

9. Establishing healthy oral hygiene habits is also something that you can never start to teach too early. Helping your child understand how and why to brush their teeth regularly, can make for a very healthy individual down the road.



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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Rob Briscoe

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Daniel Oines

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Donnie Ray Jones

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