Digital Health Smarts for When School Starts
For students, teachers, and even parents, summer has suddenly come to a screeching halt. The same sun that once promised summer fun for three months is now shining through a classroom window as students resume their school routine. This time of year can be exciting — with new school clothes, supplies, and even new friends. Yet, all of these things are accessories for the students adjusting to a new school routine – which can be stressful. Managing these new routines can be overwhelming at times, and parents need to know how these changes are affecting their children. With new digital health advancements, you can combat these school stressors through fitness, sleep, nutrition, health education, and stress release.
Fitness For A Healthy Life
Consistent fitness during the week is a tremendous way to lead a healthy life. Playing outside during recess or with friends at home can contribute greatly towards the “60 minutes of physical activity per day” that specialists highly recommend. Implementing this recommended daily routine is crucial for the child’s motor skills, nervous system, and overall physical development. On top of physical development, regular exercise also helps in mental development and learning more about themselves and instilling confidence. Schools can help get kids moving throughout the day with their Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) that incorporates the “strong coordination for five components: physical education, physical activity during school (recess and classroom physical activity), physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement”.
While motivating a technology-centric kid to play outside can be difficult, a new wave of health technology is coming to get kids up and out of the house. Take for example the “Run Jump Play” app by A-Champs. This app is compatible with ROXs pads that not only motivate kids to get moving, but adults who are looking for a pre-workout warmup as well. By using the sensors on each pad, this app allows you to play games, compete with friends, train to boost speed and agility, and to keep you sharp physically and mentally overall. The app comes installed with Family Fun games like chasing zombies, catching chickens, and even being a ninja.
A Good Night’s Sleep
Adequate and consistent rhythmic sleep is equally as important as daily activity in the development of young children. A good sleeping routine will optimize mental and physical development as pediatricians advise that children ages 6-12 years old get 9-12 hours of sleep per night and teenagers about 8-10 hours per night.
Creating Healthy Sleep Patterns
Getting a child on the right sleeping schedule can be difficult, especially at the beginning of the school year. Their mind and body may still be used to those late summer nights, which can make going to bed on-time for those upcoming early morning school days very tricky to coordinate. Secondly, powering down all devices at least an hour before bedtime can help with deeper and faster sleep —the mind will be de-stimulated from screens (this applies to adults as well). Darkening shades can also help block out any bright sunlight that may keep the child from sleeping. Thirdly, it is important for children to avoid food and beverages high in sugar, including caffeinated drinks in the afternoon. This includes soda, energy drinks or anything else that contains stimulants.
Digital Sleep Apps
Headspace for Kids (available on iOS, Android, and Amazon app stores) and Sleep Hero (iOS), are both effective sleeping apps that lull any child to sleep through visuals, counting, breathing, and lullabies. The Headspace app can be curated to the child’s age, but the Sleep Hero app is specifically designed for babies and toddlers. Both apps showcase how the digital age is working towards fixing many issues that can affect the health and wellness of children of any age.
A Nutritional Diet
A well-balanced nutritional diet is a perfect match to compliment any child’s new fitness agenda and sleep schedule. Not only can good nutrition can aid in a child’s sleep patterns, it can also help the body utilize nutrients for physical activity. When considering a child’s nutrition, it is important to watch for foods that contain empty calories such as packaged foods high in sugar and fats like cookies, cakes, candy, and soft drinks. These calories are estimated to be 40% of the total daily calories for children from two to 18 years old. Because half of a child’s calories are eaten at school, it can be even more challenging to avoid these kinds of calories. Even with supervision, getting children to eat healthy foods maybe even more difficult if the child has a picky appetite. If a child has a strict palette, slowly introducing new foods to the child can help open up a variety of nutritional avenues.
Parental Role Models
Most children unconsciously look to model after adults for much of life’s practices — including eating healthy — that’s why it is important that they have an adult to provide good guidelines for eating nutritiously and living a healthy lifestyle. After all, monkey see, monkey do. While the child may look for guidance, they will listen to multiple sources — like friends at the lunch table or characters on TV — for information about eating.
Luckily, there are many health-centric apps to motivate and educate children about the proper way of eating. My-food Nutrition for Kids is an interactive, inviting, and educational way for children to learn the importance of nutrition. Fizzy’s Lunch Lab is a similar app that provokes nutritional learning through engagement. Outside of the home, confirm with a school representative to see if there is a breakfast or lunch program and what it entails. This can help to ensure that the child is getting access to the best education about nutrition and health. You can also contact the school to learn if the school’s nurse is certified, licensed, and providing educational resources to your young students. A few ideal questions to ask would be: “Is there a school-based health center available for students and families?”, “does the district and school promote a healthy school environment by providing good nutrition, physical activity, and health education opportunities?”, and “does the school district have a wellness policy to create and support a healthy school environment? If so, is the school following the policy?”. These questions can help guarantee that the child is learning best practices and has the resources outside of the home to be as healthy as possible.
Incorporating all of these tools as a student can be challenging at the start of a school year. However, if all of these health factors are consistently implemented into the youth’s life, both at school and at home, they will be set up a happy and healthy new school year — and life. Who knew that a new school year could bring so many stressors and big change? If your brand is preparing for an upcoming change as big as a new the school year, having the right tools to rely — like a digital healthcare marketing team — can prove to be invaluable. And, choosing the right digital healthcare marketing team can guide you towards your biggest year yet.
Trajectory is a healthcare marketing and branding agency focused on helping brands and businesses lead healthier lives. Reach out for a conversation.