Enhancing Your Child's Health, Focus, and Well-Being at School
As any parent knows, school is often a cesspool for illnesses. Even if your child manages to avoid the common cold or flu, their mental or cognitive health well-being could suffer for a variety of reasons. All of these aspects of their health could affect their academic and social experience.
However, you have a limited amount of control over how your child navigates their time in school. Therefore, you must take steps to influence and encourage your child to adopt behaviors that are beneficial to their health, focus, and ongoing well-being.
Making Healthy Eating Choices
Having a nutritionally-balanced diet is essential for children to have the energy and focus to get through the school day. At home, you may have a certain amount of control over what your children eat. However, this isn’t necessarily the case when they’re at school. Kids eating school meals may choose less-balanced foods from the available menu than you’d prefer. Though you might pack their lunches and snacks, this doesn’t mean they will always eat them or may trade them for junk foods.
As such, empower your child to make healthy choices at school independently. Start at home by offering a range of healthy foods so they can start identifying the elements they enjoy that may translate to their choices at school. Discuss how vital staying hydrated is both to their physical health and their mental wellness. Communicate about different types of food and how these positively and negatively affect them. You could also incentivize their healthy decisions by offering praise and small rewards when they demonstrate responsible eating behavior.
When you start this early on, you can help them to make more informed decisions in ways that don’t just serve them now but also in later life.
Cultivating Emotional Strength and Resilience
School can be a difficult experience. Children face academic, personal, and social challenges throughout their time in education. Each of these challenges are psychological and emotional hurdles in their own right. Without effective management methods, they could be likely to disrupt their wellness and focus.
However, you can build their resilience by teaching your child how to take moments of mindfulness throughout the school day. Guide them in spending just a few minutes to check in on their thoughts and feelings, alongside how these elements are affecting them. This enables them to recognize and respond to them before these become problematic.
Encourage kids to communicate about challenging thoughts or emotions they have. Discuss how they can go to the teachers they trust, school counselors, friends, and members of the family. The more open they can be about their feelings, the more resilient they can be in the face of difficulties.
If your child experiences psychological or emotional wellness challenges, it may be helpful to empower them to speak to a therapist. This can both provide a neutral and experienced party to speak to, alongside developing coping tools. It’s worth noting that mental health concerns are among the conditions that can be treated by telehealth services. An increasing range of professionals are open to assessing and treating patients over video calls. In some instances, your child may be able to find a quiet place during challenging school days to talk to their therapist online.
It’s no secret that exercise is vital for kids’ ongoing wellness. It helps to maintain their respiratory and cardiovascular health, not to mention that it can help mitigate the potential for obesity-related issues. Activity can also contribute to stimulating kids’ attention during class. However, studies have shown that less than a quarter of children between the ages of 6 and 17 participate in at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. You must encourage your child to find opportunities to engage in exercise during school.
The most traditional way to achieve this is by encouraging them to join school sports teams. This tends to result in them getting regular exercise with others, which can be a motivating factor to keep participating. It’s also worth talking to them about joining sports-related activities with their friends during recess, as this provides them with exercise without the pressure they may feel in a formal sports environment.
Certainly, not all children are interested in engaging in traditional sports. In these instances, collaborate with them in finding physical activities at school that align with their interests. Children who love the outdoors may be open to school hiking groups or adventure clubs. Creative kids could join dance or theatrical extracurricular activities. Some kids who dislike team sports may be interested in taking up martial arts.
Even with your best intentions, your child could still end up sick. There are plenty of germs in a congregated environment like school. However, you still have control over the situation by doing your best with prevention measures. For one, make sure your child isn’t exposed to any allergens that might compromise their immune system. Although you can impart any allergen information to the school, you can also remove any allergens from your home as well.
You should also visit your family practitioner and other healthcare providers regularly. Not only will they keep an eye out for any serious illnesses, but they can give you tips for staying vigilant year-round.
You should also be aware of any signs of vision issues your child may have that may be impairing their education during the day. Although signs like squinting and nausea may be a sign that they’ll simply need glasses, they could also be an indicator of a more serious eye condition. Within that same vein, stay aware of any dental issues that your kid may develop and visit the dentist every six months.
Enhancing your child’s health, focus, and well-being at school involves providing them with guidance in a few key areas. Wherever possible, though, make these efforts a collaboration with your child. By involving them meaningfully in their wellness, you may find they are more open to adopting healthy behaviors and activities.