Guidelines for parents
Experts offer medical advice to keep kids safe all year round Experts offer medical advice to keep kids safe all year round
A school year calls for a renewed approach to safety, health and precaution. Touching upon nutrition, habits and hygiene, paediatricians, Dr Sarah Rizk and Dr Rouba Abdennour of Shamma Clinic, provide a quick back-to-school guide for parents with the best start to the school year, ensuring families can create a pro-productive environment while maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
Get vaccinated: It is advised that the whole family should get vaccinated as early as possible before the start of the school year. Speak to a registered paediatrician to confirm the vaccinations parents and each child must have. Dr Rizk also recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older.
Set bedtime curfews: It is important that kids get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused throughout the day. Although sleep requirements vary somewhat among individuals, most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night, and children and adolescents typically need between eight and 10. To enable kids to wake up on time for school without the fuss, make sure bedtimes are a little earlier each night for a week or two before school starts, advices Dr Rouba Abdennour. Sticking to a routine is very important too, so don't let weekends become late night free-for-all.
Demonstrate good hygiene habits: With new faces and new environments, germs are bound to be lurking in classrooms. It is essential to show kids how to be hygienic to help kids avoid getting sick and prevent them from bringing germs home. Make children wash their hands after using the restroom and before going to lunch or eating a snack. It may be smart to provide children with on-the-go hand sanitizer to use when washing their hands isn't convenient and/, or baby wipes. Dr Rizk adds that it is also important to instruct children not to share food or drinks with other kids.
Promote healthy eating: It might be easy to pack lunches with pre-made snacks, but a healthy diet should take priority, and junk foods do not fit into the equation. Parents can make it easier for themselves by stocking up on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread and lean protein like turkey. Taking a few minutes during the weekend to cut up fruits and vegetables to prepare snacks such as tuna salad or hard-boiled eggs for convenience in the mornings, and buying plenty of containers for nutritious dinner leftovers, makes weekday mornings a seamless run. Parents can also add more variety to lunches by getting a small ice pack and an insulated lunch bag.
Stress management: While the school season is stressful for kids and parents alike, too much stress can cause health problems such as insomnia and sluggish immune systems. Parents can help manage stress by encouraging their children to discuss their emotions, anticipation and needs. Parents must also take care not to overload anyone's schedule, including their own. Schoolwork and after-school activities are essential, but it is also crucial to make time to relax, play and spend time as a family, strengthening family ties.