School bells are ringing around the state, calling kids and teachers back to the classroom. It's important to get your family started off on the right foot, with a little help from UnityPoint Health - Des Moines.
It's true! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so no matter how rushed you are in the morning, take time to eat. Breakfast fuels developing minds and growing bodies, and jumpstarts your metabolism for the day. Without it, the body has to go long periods of time without food which can lead to physical, emotional and behavioral problems. And believe it or not, skipping breakfast contributes to weight gain and increases the risk of obesity!
- There are plenty of quick and convenient breakfast options that won't set off schedule in the morning, like cereal, fresh fruit, breakfast bars, muffins or hard-boiled eggs (prepare them in advance, and keep them in the fridge for a quick grab in the morning).
- Smoothies are a delicious way to intake a variety of fruits and vegetables on the go. Mix up your favorite concoction and enjoy a breakfast that's not only fast and refreshing, but packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals!
- As your kids get older, create a "breakfast bar" on part of the counter, island or side table in the kitchen or dining area where the kids can help themselves. Cereal dispensers, granola bars and fruit are great choices, and putting breakfast at their reach frees up time for YOU to get ready or eat, too.
Get Enough Sleep!
Every living creature needs sleep to survive; it's our body's way of recovering from the daily stresses of life. It's important to help your child develop a healthy sleep routine, promoting overall health and optimal performance throughout their day.
- Preschoolers typically need 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age. Because of their developing imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares, sleepwalking and sleep terrors.
- Children ages 5-12 need to 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school.
- Teens need about 8.5-10 hours of sleep each night to function best. Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence -- meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm. School doesn't accommodate sleeping in, so it's important to get to bed earlier!
Take Time to Play!
Daily physical activity promotes heart health, develops muscle strength and endurance, and is an excellent way to release stress and anxiety! Setting aside time to exercise as a family is a healthy way to unwind from a long day at work and school, while spending quality time together. There are several fun activities you can do as a family, including:
- Walking or jogging
- Biking around the neighborhood or nearby trail
- Hiking or a nature walk
- Playing catch or a game of whiffle ball in the yard
- Shooting hoops or a pick-up game in the driveway or at the park
- Jumping on a trampoline
- Swimming at an indoor pool or local gym
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines want this school year to be your best (and healthiest) one yet! By implementing these tips into your child's school day, you're developing healthy habits to last them a lifetime!