Now that your kids are back in school, here are four tips to keep them healthy during the school year.
1. Fix their sleep schedule. It gets dark later in summer, so adjusting to a new sleep schedule can be hard at first. A good trick is to set your kids' bedtime about 15 minutes earlier each night, until you reach the point that works with their school schedule.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids between the ages of 6 and 12 should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night, while teenagers need 8 to 10.
2. Get a checkup. If your kids haven't had their annual physical or vaccinations yet, it's time to do that. It's also a good idea to make sure the school has any medications they need on hand . . . and that your emergency contact information is up-to-date.
3. Make them a healthy lunch. One trick to get them to actually eat it is by buying a bento-box-style lunch box that you can fill with small portions of healthier foods. And always remember to pack a drink, since a study in 2015 found that more than half of all children and teens aren't properly hydrated.
4. Go over hand-washing. Since you won't be supervising their hand-washing when they're at school, make sure they know how and when to wash their hands. According to one study, kids who wash their hands frequently are 38% less likely to have to stay home with a cold during the school year.