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Starting healthy habits at home

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to keep your kids healthy

Keep your children healthy at school by starting healthy habits at home. Make healthy practices part of your regular family routine and hopefully some of those routines will stick with your kids when they are off at school and out of your sight.

healthy breakfast

Serve nutritious meals

Though you can't always know what your kids are eating while they are at school, you can serve nutritious meals at home. Offer a healthy breakfast to your kids every morning and sit down to a healthy dinner as a family every evening, if possible. Establishing healthy eating habits at home will make it more likely that your child will choose healthy options at school. Nutritious breakfasts don't have to be elaborate and time-consuming.

Check out these healthy breakfast recipes that kids can make on their own. >>

Make sure kids get enough sleep

Proper rest is essential for children to perform academically and physically. Kids who do not get enough sleep are also more prone to illness. If you let your kids stay up later in the summertime, start getting them back into their school time sleep routine a few weeks before the start of the school. The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person. However, kids ages 5-9 generally need 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Children ages 10-12 need approximately 10 hours of sleep, while teenagers need 8-9 hours. Sleep deprivation can impair attention span, creativity, decision-making, mood and motivation, problem-solving, and other mental and physical abilities.

Teach proper handwashing

One of the most important ways to keep your kids healthy is through proper handwashing. Handwashing can eliminate germs and the spread of contagious disease. At home, teach your kids about handwashing before and after eating or handling food, as well as after using the toilet, blowing noses, handling animals, playing in sandboxes or touching garbage. Proper handwashing includes actively rubbing the hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Teach kids to sing or hum the Happy Birthday song twice to know when time is up. Parents should lead by example by always washing their own hands at home as well. Show kids how to wash and dry their hands, as well as how to turn off the faucet and open the bathroom door using a towel. The faucet and door handles are breeding grounds for germs.

Eliminate germs on surfaces and toys

Keep surfaces at home clean and germ-free by using towelettes such as Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. These wipes kill 99.9 percent of germs including viruses that cause colds and flu. You can use them on everything from counter tops to faucets and wood tables to appliances. Kids need simplicity and convenience so keep several containers of these wipes around your home. When disinfecting an area, wipe surfaces with enough wipes for treated surfaces to remain visibly wet for four minutes and then let dry. In addition to food surfaces and toys, always clean the areas in your home that are touched by multiple people including appliance handles, kitchen and bathroom faucets, toilet handles, phone receivers, TV remotes, doorknobs and light switches.

More about kids' health

How is your child's germ etiquette?
Sick child: Questions to ask your pediatrician
Tips to keep your kids healthy at school

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