Fill up those tigers’ tanks
The chilly, dark winter mornings make it extra challenging to get up a few minutes early to whip up a nourishing, hearty breakfast for the kiddos. But a sugary bowl of cereal isn’t the kind of high-octane fuel they need to make it through a demanding school day. The good news? A protein-and-vitamin-packed breakfast can be pulled off with little effort. Opt for simple, nutrition-loaded fare like eggs (keep a couple hard-boiled eggs in the ‘fridge for days you’re running late), milk, cottage cheese, whole grains, fruit, and yogurt.
Wash your hands!
In case you sustain any lingering doubts, the science is in: handwashing helps ward off illness. Danish research found that kids taught proper handwashing techniques and required to wash three times a day missed 26 percent fewer school days and had 22 percent fewer illnesses than kids who weren’t trained or required to wash.
Take your anti-stress meds
Exercise is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to shaking off stress, which for children can compromise a healthy, growing brain. So take advantage of the nippy weather by letting them go out to play, or taking a brisk, pre-dinner walk. Not only will your childrens’ endorphins be doing the happy dance, but their I.Q.’s will also be ramped up a few notches.
Avoiding colds? Don’t avoid the cold.
Your parental instincts may be telling you that to keep kids healthy, you should keep them safely out of the cold. But that can mean long hours staring, inert, at a screen, which has multiple negative health implications for your child, including Nature-Deficit Disorder. As long as they’re dressed warmly, don’t hesitate to take a foray into the great outdoors — or even a quick jaunt to your local park. According to the National Wildlife Federation, spending time in nature offers a wealth of health benefits for kids, including helping to prevent sleep deprivation, as children need to be outside in natural daylight to regulate their internal “sleep clocks.”
Want more A’s? Get more Zzzz’s.
If your New Year’s resolution to make sure the kids get a good night’s sleep has fallen by the wayside, time to do a sleep check at your house. There’s plenty of reason to ensure your children are getting the rest they need. Researchers have found a link between sleep and cognitive abilities. One researcher found that sixth-graders who lost just an hour of sleep performed at a fourth-grade level. Other studies show a link between getting enough sleep and higher grades.
Abridged and adapted