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Back to school, bright and healthy

The school run is back with us, after a well-deserved break for kids. We can expect more and more academics in this last term of the year.But we must give kids more value for their schooling, emotional intelligence and health should always be in the mix.

Emotional intelligence is for another day, let’s talk about how we can inculcate healthy behavior in our children. Integrating health as part of day to day learning reinforces long-lasting healthy attitudes.

Healthy minds and bodies in turn become the backbones of a generation’s health.

Children develop feeding habits depending on the foods and snacks we give them. The current childhood obesity epidemic is as much driven by sedentary lifestyles as it is driven by eating habits. It’s ok to have the odd burger and fries, but most of their plates should be filled with greens and fruits. Let them get a good mix of complex carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins.

And lots of water in place of fizzy drinks. School meals should ensure a good balance of healthy menus to choose from. Some families however may not afford proper meals for their kids. No child should be left to starve, it’s upon our county governments to find ways of supporting such families.

Kids must learn hygienic habits as early as possible. Hand washing is the single most important of all hygienic measures, serving to prevent many childhood infections. Some media personalities have done commendable jobs popularizing hand hygiene in schools. The schools themselves must support and maintain such initiatives in the longer term. And personal hygiene and cleanliness must be emphasized all the time.

Kids must be made increasingly aware that entertainment is not just sitting in front of electronic gadgets. True, electronic entertainment improves intuition, motor skills and hand-eye coordination among other benefits. But if that’s all kids do, they’ll quickly turn into couch potatoes! Growing bones, muscles and joints need about an hour of physical activities most days of the week. Let’s get children into playing fields, cycling, walking, swimming or whatever other physical activities they find enjoyable. This way, they will grow more active than we are, and stem off diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.

After a hard day filled with academics and other activities, some rest becomes necessary before the next day’s activities. Schools must moderate the amount of homework to avoid a burnout with overloaded brains. There must be enough time to spare after school for idling about, chit-chatting with family or even just snoozing. Kids need to get a good night’s sleep, aiming for about 8 hours every night. This way, the mind and body gets replenished, and becomes more receptive to newer challenges the next day.

It’s upon us as parents, guardians, teachers and leaders to ensure our education system is not just about academics. Our children must grow up with as many life skills as possible.

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The school run is back with us, after a well-deserved break for kids. We can expect more and more academics in this last term of the year.But we must give kids more value for their schooling, emotional intelligence and health should always be in the mix.

Emotional intelligence is for another day, let’s talk about how we can inculcate healthy behavior in our children. Integrating health as part of day to day learning reinforces long-lasting healthy attitudes.

Healthy minds and bodies in turn become the backbones of a generation’s health.

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