Back-to-school tips: How to keep students healthy

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- School is back in session and while Valley students are preparing to hit the books again, making sure they stay in tiptop shape is a high priority for parents.

“Going back to school is a big transition for children,” said Dr. Dustin Monroe, resident physician with Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “They've gone through their summer activities and now they're getting back into a school routine, which is much different.”

It’s a routine that should start with getting at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  
“If they establish a good routine and can start getting kids on track for that, they'll find that they're more awake during school and not getting as many complaints from their teachers,” Monroe said.

But getting a good night's rest is just the beginning.
 
“Studies have shown that children that have an appropriate breakfast after a good night sleep will be much more successful in school,” Monroe continued.

This means going back to the basics. Monroe said fruits and vegetables are a great source of fuel.
  
“The children should have five or more fruits and vegetables every day,” Monroe said.

There are other tools parents can use to have a healthy child.

“Two hours or less in front of a screen and that means television, their iPads and whatever technology they have,” Monroe said. “They should do one hour or more of activity and zero sugary drinks.”

Monroe said staying current with vaccinations is also important.

“It's just as important as learning your child's numbers, shapes and colors,” Monroe said. “So we do recommend those are up to date.”

But in the end, keeping your child on daily routine can make for a much healthier year.
 
“Keep the same routine Saturday and Sunday that you would during the week for sleep, nutrition,” Monroe said. “And even if a child resists, they're going to get onto that schedule if you do it repeatedly.”