Healthy Kids are Better Learners

posted by Colette Rossiter on Thursday, August 15, 2019

Summer break has come to a close and school is officially back in session!  Get your children off to a good start with these key health tips: 

Schedule health check-ups.  If you haven’t done so already, your child needs a check-up with the doctor and dentist.  It may also be time for an eye exam as good vision is essential for learning.  This is also the perfect time to make sure immunizations are up to date.  Iowa law requires vaccine boosters prior to kindergarten, 7th grade and 12th grade. Shots aren’t fun, but are important to the health of your child and other students.  A healthy child is ready to learn!

Create a routine.  For most kids, summer break means staying up late, carefree days, and little scheduled time.  It can be difficult to get back in the swing of a routine.  However, routines are so important for children to give them a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline. 

Get plenty of rest.  Bedtime is a perfect example of when a routine and schedule is needed.  A good day at school starts with a good night of sleep. One routine with multiple benefits is reading.  Bedtime is the perfect time to read to your child or have them read to you.  Remember that electronics (cell phones, computers, TVs) can negatively affect the ease of falling asleep and getting quality sleep.  The amount of sleep needed will vary among children.  Guidelines based on age are:

  • Preschool: 10-13 hours
  • Elementary: 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours

Eat healthy!  A healthy, balanced diet is vital to fuel the brain and keep the immune system strong.  Studies have shown that skipping breakfast and consuming few fruits and vegetables leads to lower grades and higher absenteeism.  Kids do better in school with more energy and concentration if they start their day with a good breakfast.  In addition, healthy eating and regular physical activity play a powerful role in preventing obesity and chronic diseases later in life.

Be active!  Kids need a minimum of an hour of physical activity daily.  As with proper nutrition, students who are physically active tend to have better grades and classroom behaviors.  Walking or biking to school is a great way to encourage activity! 

Safe Routes to School offers “Walk on Wednesdays” (WOW) to all elementary students in Spencer.  Ask about WOW at your child’s school. Kids love WOW!  It allows them to walk to school with other students and chaperones, strengthen social connections, and increase readiness to learn.

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About The Author

Colette Rossiter

Colette Rossiter, serves as assistant director for Spencer Hospital Community Health Services and Clay County Public Health. Colette has enjoyed the variety of responsibilities her nursing career has provided, yet has a passion for public health and safety.