Head back to school with these healthy habits
Back-to-school season is upon us and for many families that means getting back to a weekly routine. The start of a new school year is a great time to implement new habits. Here are five healthy habits to consider adding:
1. Choose healthier snacks
Whether it’s the snacks you pack for school or work or the after-school snacks kids reach for in the afternoon, make an effort to consciously choose and prepare healthier snacks for everyone in your household. A great hack to help your willpower: Only buy the snacks from the grocery store that you know will keep you and your family happy and healthy. Research shows that fueling children with healthier food “leads to increased focus and attention, improved test scores and better classroom behavior.”
RELATED: After-school snack ideas from Delta Dental
2. Schedule screen time
You’ve heard it’s important to limit screen time, but do you understand why? Studies show that “spending too much time on screens has been linked to not getting enough sleep, poor grades, and a greater risk of obesity.” Invite your family to sit down and plan screen time for each week. We recommend splitting up screen time, allowing thirty minutes after school and then thirty minutes after dinner. As parents, you are a role model for your family. Put a limit on your own screen time as an example for your children to learn the importance of screen-time limits.
LIVE 5-2-1-0: 2 hours or less of recreational screen time
3. Set a bedtime and stick to it
Recommended sleep varies by age, but grade school children need 9-12 hours of sleep each night and teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Setting a specific bedtime is important for the health of everyone in your family. This structured routine provides a great opportunity to schedule sleep into your families’ schedule and it’s even more important to stick to that bedtime for you and your little ones to establish a habit.
FOR PARENTS: Check out this Healthy Habits Toolkit for Families
4. Get active!
Between screen-time, homework, snack and dinner time — what’s missing from your family's after-school and work routine? Being active! Whether its organized sports or play time outside after school, getting kids up and active is incredibly important after a long day of sitting at school or work. You can even get the whole family involved with family bike rides or walks! Take advantage of all the outdoor time your family can get before the Iowa winter keeps you and your family inside.
RESOURCE: Use a healthy habits goal tracker to measure success
5. Resolve to drink more water
Whether it’s choosing water over other drinks or tracking your water intake through an app, there are many different ways to encourage water drinking in your household. Another great way to get in more water throughout the day is to make sure your child has a refillable water bottle. Many schools have water bottle filling stations. Check out our tips to help keep your family hydrated!
RELATED: Tips to drink more water from Delta Dental
With these new healthy habits, your family’s back to school routine will be healthier and happier for every member of your family.
Blog content provided by Delta Dental of Iowa, a proud supporter of the Healthiest State Initiative and Get Your Bib On.