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Encouraging healthy behaviors at school

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...

Back-to-school health tips

Keep your kids as healthy as possible by encouraging behaviors at school that cut down on the spread of germs, as well as those behaviors that stress nutrition, fitness and overall health.
Kids running at school

Teach kids healthy habits at home

Though you can't watch your kids while they are at school, you can teach them healthy habits at home that will hopefully carry over to their time at school. Start with a healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep. These elements are essential when trying to keep your children healthy. Serve a nutritious breakfast every day, pack a well-balanced lunch and sit down to a healthy dinner as a family. Talk about nutrition and healthy habits on a regular basis so that these type of habits become part of your children's regular routine.

Encourage proper handwashing

To eliminate the spread of germs and help avoid illness, children and adults must wash their hands properly and regularly. Talk to your children about the important times to wash their hands — before and after eating food as well as after using the toilet, wiping or blowing noses, handling pets, playing in sandboxes, and touching garbage or other germy surfaces. Proper handwashing should be done with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

Read more about proper handwashing techniques >>

Show kids how to "elbow cough"

Teach your kids how to cough into their elbow rather into their hands. Coughing (and sneezing) into your hands causes germs to be spread much more easily. Be sure to elbow cough yourself as kids are more likely to pick up healthy habits if they see their parents doing the same.

Keep kids home when they are sick

Though we stress "perfect" attendance with our kids, it's very important to keep them home when they are actually sick. If your child has a fever of 101 degrees F or more, keep them home. Children who are vomiting, have diarrhea, show signs of pinkeye or are experiencing a sore throat should also be keep home. Have a childcare plan in place for when your kids get sick at school. Authorize someone else to pick up your kids when you can't. Also talk to your boss about missing work when your kids are out sick. Many employers are flexible and will allow you to make up the time by working from home, or working late on another date.

Ask about donating healthy supplies

Talk to your child's teacher about donating healthy supplies to the classroom including Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, hand sanitizer, liquid soap, tissues and other essentials.

Read about ways to save money on school supplies >>

Advocate for physical education

Physical education and recess are often being eliminated from schools due to budget cuts. Physical activity is very important to kids' overall health — especially with the childhood obesity rates being so high in our country. Advocate for physical education programs in your child's school district to keep these programs alive and thriving.

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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