Home >  Blog >  5 back to school health tips

5 back to school health tips

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 30 January 2018
5 back to school health tips

Easy ways to help your child stay healthy as term one kicks off.

There's no doubt the start of the school year is an exciting time, but it also means an increased risk of exposure to viruses and illness for your child. Here are five things you need to know to help your family stay healthy as term one gets underway.

1. Physical Factors
While classroom learning is an integral part of every child's school day and a level of digital activity is also accepted staying active is one of the best ways children can remain physically and mentally well.
The Active Healthy Kids Australia recommendations are a good guide for how much exercise your child should do:

  • Children and young people should accumulate at least 60-minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
  • Physical activity that strengthen muscles and bones should be included at least three days per week.
  • For additional health benefits children and young people should engage in more physical activity up to several hours every day.

2. Sleep Matters Most
Sleep is the golden elixir of any young person's life. It is vital for brain development, emotional regulation, optimal detoxification, hormonal stability and cellular and immune repair. On the flip side, sleep can be negatively impacted for a variety of reasons including emotional health, nutrition, behavioural patterns, physical obstructions and gut issues. Contact Whole Medicine if you are concerned you child may have sleep issues.
The Sleep Health Foundation recommends:

  • School aged children aged between six and 13 get nine to 11 hours a night
  • Teenagers aged between 14 and 17 get eight to 10 hours a night.

3. Better Behaviour
Behavioural issues that are outside normal functioning can impact on family harmony, school learning, social functioning and mental health. Looking holistically at a child can reveal some underlying issues at play. Supporting brain growth and function with lifestyle, nutrition, diet and other factors can support children. Having access to specialists and referral networks is also vital for the whole family.

4. Food Confustion
If you're confused over what to include in your child's lunchbox or what constitutes healthy food, you're not alone. The latest Royal Children's Hospital National Child Health Poll found parents are struggling to understand how much sugar is added to foods and what impact it can have on children's mental and physical health.
Good food is vital for your child's brain development at school. See the Australian Dietary Guidelines for information about how to help your child enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups.

5. Screen Time Limits
While watching TV and playing computer games are common activities for kids, the Australian Government Department of Health warns children who spend long periods of time inactive are more likely to have poor physical, social and intellectual development. Instead of your child spending hours on watching TV and DVDs or playing computer and electronic games, encourage them to stay active and healthy by setting consistent screen time limits.

If you are concerned about chronic infections, food intolerances, attention issues or learning behaviours as the school year gets underway, book an appointment with a Whole Medicine GP today.

Author: Dr Michelle Woolhouse
About: Dr Michelle Woolhouse, Whole Medicine founder and principal GP, and her team understand the challenges patients face because they have experienced it either as doctors or patients. The practice was founded in 2009 out of a strong desire to redefine whole person care, to include nutrition and environmental medicine, and integrating mind-body techniques. The practice gained a reputation that challenged the traditional way of delivering patient care. Whole Medicine has flourished to become the choice for an inspired Mornington Peninsula community.
Connect via: LinkedIn
Tags: Children's Health Health and Well Being Family GP

Sign up to our latest news

Opening Hours are:

Mon 9am - 5.30pm  
Tues 9am - 5.30pm
Wed 9am - 5.30pm 
Thurs 9am - 5.30pm
Fri 9am - 5.30pm  
Sat 9am - 1pm 
Sun Closed
Public Holidays Closed

Home visits by prior arrangement only and are at the discretion of the treating doctor.