children running next to elementary school photo
By pediatrician Meredith Fishbane-Gordon, MD 

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time. Here are some tips for keeping everyone in your family as healthy as possible this school year:

  • Invest in family time. Try to make dinnertime a family meal, or spend a few minutes at bedtime reading together or catching up on the day. This time will not only make you feel more connected as a family, but also will help you keep an open line of communication. These conversations can help you catch concerns, such as anxieties, bullying, school trouble, etc., before they become a problem.
  • Ensure adequate sleep. Most preschoolers need 11 to13 hours of sleep, elementary students require 10 to 11 hours of sleep, and teenagers typically need 8½ to 9½ hours of sleep every night.
  • To help ensure restful sleep, keep screens out of the bedroom, as they often keep children and teenagers from going to bed when they should. Consider moving TVs out of bedrooms (if you have not done so already) and docking tablets and phones in common spaces to help prevent late-night gaming and texting.
  • Keep kids active. Physical education in school does not happen every day for most students. Ideally, find time daily for your kids to move their bodies, whether in structured programs, free play, or even dancing in the house.
  • Make sure you and your children get a flu shot this fall.

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