Back to School Survival Guide: 5 ways to kick off the new school year right
Back-to-school season is quickly approaching and the end of the summer holidays can be bittersweet. As both, you and your child may be feeling a range of emotions from delighted to anxious, we wanted to ensure you are well-equipped with our quick back-to-school survival guide to make the transition much easier.
Here are our 5 tips to help make the return to school smoother for you and your child:
1. Plan Healthy Lunches
We all know how vital healthy and balanced meals are for children, but isn’t it a struggle thinking of and preparing a fun healthy meal every single day? Take the stress off by preparing a list of lunch box ideas in advance. Ahead of the week, discuss with your child, and jot down a list of meals and snacks for the entire week. Allowing older children to choose their meals and taking them food shopping can be a great bonding experience and you can encourage them to make healthy balanced choices. Keep track of what they are eating and what they aren’t quite enjoying.
Packing a healthy lunch does not have to be so difficult. Children like variety and often get bored so switch it up between these main food groups to ensure a healthy yet fun meal is nourishing your child. We recommend each of the following to be part of your child's meal:
- Fresh fruits - Adding fresh fruits is an easy way to add nutrients and vitamins to their diet whilst also fuelling them with energy.
- Veggies - Simple carrot, cucumber or capsicum sticks are a great way to get your children to eat vegetables. Add a dip if preferred.
- Dairy - Milk, yogurt or cheese are easy options to add calcium and protein to your child's diet. Supermarkets offer a range of fun options and dairy-free options for children who can not tolerate milk products.
- A protein source - Meat, meat alternative foods or foods high in protein (such as legumes and beans) are essential to creating a well-balanced meal. Chicken or canned tuna are great lunch box staples.
- Wholegrains - Wholegrain bread, crackers and popcorn are perfect to increase your child's fibre intake.
2. Keep Your Kid’s Sun Smart
Whether it's sweltering hot or it’s cool and breezy, it is important to teach your child to protect themselves against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The primary cause of skin cancer is UV exposure from the sun, which can still be present on cool or cloudy days. Sunburn, premature ageing and eye damage are all accelerated by prolonged sun exposure. Thankfully, staying sun-smart and following simple tips can significantly reduce the negative impacts of sun exposure.
Using child-friendly sunscreen every day is essential to protect your child from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Add sunscreen application to the busy morning routine and make it a habit for your child. Applying sunscreen liberally in front of your children can be a good way to encourage them to learn this habit. Reapplying sunscreen before lunch breaks or outdoor activities should also be encouraged.
However, that can be easier said than done. We understand that children can be picky when choosing sunscreen or stubborn and skip sunscreen application altogether with complaints of it being sticky and greasy, or smelling bad. At Padbury Pharmacy, we have a stock a range of sunscreens including child-friendly, non-greasy options. Come down to find the perfect sunscreen for your child that they would happily wear every single day.
Other tips to teach your child to stay sun smart include wearing hats or light long-sleeve shirts when they are playing outdoors. Teach your child to seek shade when possible as it reduces exposure to UV radiation by about 75%. You can still play chasey in the shade!
3. Allergy and Asthma Preparation
The unfortunate truth is many kids struggle with asthma or allergies that can make going back to school a bit harder for both you and your child. Around 8% of children in Australia face food allergies with the most common being peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish. When triggered, these allergies can cause severe reactions or anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening. Asthma is a common respiratory condition characterised by chronic inflammation of the airways which affects 10% of children in Australia and can be triggered by factors such as physical exercise, weather conditions or pollen. With asthma and allergy so prevalent in children, it is important to ensure you take some simple steps to make the transition back to school easier and safer. The following tips and reminders can ease your worries:
- Call your school to check your child’s paperwork is up-to-date and properly filed
- Check that your child's EpiPen or Asthma inhaler are within expiry
- Have a chat with your child about avoiding their triggers
- Remind your child of the necessary steps they should take when they feel an attack coming on and speak up if they feel unwell
- For food-related allergies, remind your child of the foods they must not consume
Visit Padbury Pharmacy for allergy and asthma services or to have a chat with our friendly team for any advice on children's allergies.
4. After School Activities
Physical activity is so important to support your child’s physical and mental health whilst also enabling them to improve their social skills and form friendships with other children. Encouraging your child to simply move or be active for about an hour is important as it helps develop healthy bones, muscles and joints. Exercise will also strengthen children's coordination and muscle control whilst also making them more flexible and improving their posture.
You could enrol your child in activities such as swimming, gymnastics or their preferred sport. Discussing which activities your child would enjoy is a great place to start. This will also facilitate social interactions with other children which may result in great friendships. Other budget-friendly ways to get your child to engage in physical activity includes playing a sport such as football or cricket in your nearby playground or park, and investigating local community groups. Other activities could be riding a bike, playing outdoor games. Engaging in such physical activities with your child can also be a great bonding activity.
5. Look After Yourselves as Parents
In the midst of caring for your child and getting busy with preparing everything for back to school, as parents you may sometimes lose sight of yourself. This is your kind reminder to look after yourself too during this time, and maybe try some of the following tips:
- Build a routine where you can accommodate family time and time for yourself to be engaged in your hobbies
- Get a healthy amount of rest each night
- Eat a well-balanced diet and stay active in a physical activity you like
- Get outdoors to get some fresh air and to be with nature. This could be a short outdoor walk.
- Stay connected with your friends and family and talk about your feelings
The new school year can bring on a range of emotions, from excitement to uneasiness for both you and your child. It's important to take care of your and your kids, physical and mental health to ensure a successful school year. We hope these tips helped you feel more prepared for the upcoming school year, but if you have any questions or concerns about your health, don't hesitate to reach out to our friendly staff at Padbury Pharmacy. Come in-store or give us a call on (08) 9401 7101.