As the summer season winds down and the school year approaches, parents are likely gearing up to get back into the familiar routine — and into back-to-school preparations. But amidst the excitement of new books, backpacks, and school supplies, it’s essential not to overlook the importance of ensuring your child’s health and well-being for the academic year ahead. As always, Cama’i Community Health Center stands ready to support you and your family — offering comprehensive back-to-school healthcare services that cater to the needs of the Naknek community and surrounding areas.
With our focus on primary care, behavioral health, and community, Cama’i is not only a source of medical assistance but a trusted partner in nurturing the health and vitality of our small, rural community. Just as most students eagerly embrace the challenges and opportunities of the school year, we also embrace our role in promoting the health and happiness of our youth — setting the stage for a successful academic journey ahead.
Here, we’ll explore a few tips on how to care for your children’s health and get your students ready for a successful and healthy school year.
Does your child need health services before heading back to school? Contact Cama’i today and schedule an appointment.
Fostering Healthy Habits for Back-to-School Success
While your child’s education is likely a top priority, your child’s health is also interlinked with academic performance. Thankfully, there are several steps that you can take to ensure your children’s health stays in top shape.
The basic building blocks of health begin with a healthy diet. As such, you should avoid giving your child sugary drinks or too many snacks and ensure they have adequate outdoor exercise when time allows. And when it comes to your child’s diet, consider the following healthy choices:
- Fruits: Fresh fruits like apples, bananas, berries, and grapes are rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. And they make for convenient and tasty snacks!
- Vegetables: Carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, and cherry tomatoes are excellent choices. These foods provide essential nutrients and can be paired with a dip for added flavor.
- Whole Grain Snacks: Whole grain crackers, whole wheat pretzels, or popcorn can provide fiber and sustained energy — without the excess sugar found in many processed snacks.
- Greek Yogurt: High in protein and probiotics, Greek yogurt is a great option for calcium and gut health. And you can add some berries or a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
- Cheese: Cheese sticks or cubes offer protein and calcium. Opt for lower-fat varieties and pair them with whole-grain crackers or veggies.
- Nut Butter: Peanut or almond butter on whole wheat bread or whole grain crackers provides healthy fats and protein. Be mindful of nut and food allergies in the school environment.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: Eggs are a protein-rich snack that’s easy to prepare and transport. They’re also a source of important nutrients such as vitamin D and choline.
- Trail Mix: A homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and whole grain cereal provides a satisfying blend of nutrients, including healthy fats and fiber.
- Low-Sugar Granola Bars: Look for granola bars with whole grains, nuts, and dried fruits. Avoid bars with excessive added sugars and opt for those with natural ingredients.
Keep in mind that when packing school lunches or snacks, a best practice is to aim for a balance of healthy meals made up of different food groups to ensure that children receive a variety of nutrients for optimal growth and cognitive function. And as a bonus, encouraging healthy eating habits early on sets the foundation for a lifetime of wellness.
Along with nutritious foods, physical activity also offers many benefits — and is also essential for proper muscle growth and optimal brain development. As the new school year approaches, you should encourage your children to engage in regular exercise or sports in order to improve their overall health.
A few activities you may suggest to your children include:
- Outdoor Play
- Martial Arts
- Kid-friendly Yoga
- Obstacle Courses
In addition to diet and physical activity, you’ll also want to ensure that your children are getting a good night’s sleep. As research suggests, proper sleep and turning devices at least two hours before bedtime can actually promote greater cognitive ability and mental health.
Remember, it’s essential to make physical activity enjoyable for children by letting them choose activities they like. Also, limit screen time and encourage them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day, as recommended by health organizations. By incorporating these activities into their routines, you’re helping your children establish healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Shots, Physicals, and Immunizations
The last thing you’ll want is for your child to miss school due to a preventable illness. And this includes ensuring that all of your child’s immunizations are up to date. Though this will vary by age, talking to a healthcare provider will help you to understand which immunizations are necessary to enter school at a specific age. Remember, immunizations are required for most public schools, and without proper documentation of these immunizations, your child won’t be able to attend school until he or she is up to date.
In addition to mandatory immunizations, getting your child a flu shot is also important — especially heading into the colder months of the year when flu cases are known to skyrocket. You may also encourage the use of hand sanitizer in the classroom as well to mitigate the spread of illness during peak cold and flu season. And your child’s teacher will likely thank you for helping to keep other students safe!
While shots and immunizations are vital for the safety of your children and other kids, you may also have older children who engage in school sports or other intramural team sports. If this is the case, getting them a proper physical may be in order. And here at Cama’i Community Health Center, we have the resources to ensure that your child is in top physical shape before entering into any rigorous exercise or activity.
Trust Us With Your Child’s Back-to-School Health at Cama’i Community Health Center
At Cama’i Community Health Center, we’re proud to serve our remote community with a variety of medical needs. We understand how living in a remote region can make it challenging to access necessary healthcare services for your children.
When you come to Cama’i for your family’s health needs, you’ll have expert diagnosis and treatment available to you and your loved ones — whenever you need it. And you won’t need to worry about your child suffering through an illness alone or missing too many days of school. Remember, too many missed days can adversely affect your child’s academic performance — and they may fall behind their peers, which can ultimately result in your child having to repeat a grade level.
At Cama’i, we want all children in our rural Alaskan community to stay safe during the school year. And while your kids may be more worried about new clothes, sports, or which teachers they love (or dislike) the most, we’ll be here to support you as you get your children ready to head back to school.
Do you need to get your child back to school ready? Trust Cama’i Community Health Center for all of your child’s healthcare needs and schedule an appointment today.