If you’re like us, you are probably feeling disbelief that summer is already in the rear view mirror! As we enter a new school year, what better time to create some healthy habits to ensure our children hit the ground running.
Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Our kids are rapidly growing and developing, so they need good fuel to begin the day! Look for options that are “whole” vs. processed, plant-based (fruits & veggies), and have protein (lean meats, nuts, eggs) that your child can enjoy. Beware of the pitfalls of modern marketed breakfast items, especially cereals which are often very high in sugar and not much else. In fact, finding foods without added sugar is no small task! Read the labels on foods you purchase, especially any that are processed. If the sugar content is high, keep shopping. Find meals that you and your child can agree on. And whatever you do, remember that having a healthy habit means don’t skip breakfast!
TECHNOLOGY & EXERCISE
There doesn’t seem to be a lack of activity for our kids when the school year starts. But one area we encourage families to focus on is making a plan for electronics use. Mobile devices, tablets, TV, and video games are a part of our daily lives and here to stay. So make a plan to consistently balance the amount of time your kids have access to these devices. With mobile phones and tablets, try to limit access by storing them in an area that is not easily accessible to little ones. Set time limits for when you do allow use.
Have a family “meeting” to convey the ground rules about usage, and most importantly, stick to it! Also, rather than simply placing limits on technology, discuss what other activities you can add to the mix that encourage exercise and time to connect as a family (bike ride, going to the park, hiking, etc.). Put a chart on the wall as a reminder after the rules are established and schedule in the family time. Your kids may struggle with these healthy habits initially, but the boundaries created will provide a healthy structure for which they’ll thank you later!
Encourage your children to begin their day with brushing & flossing after they wake up, but before breakfast. Brushing in the morning is a crucial healthy habit, because plaque and bacteria accumulate while we sleep. The reason it’s best to brush before a meal is because breakfast often includes acidic foods and drink (like fruit, juice, or smoothies), and these create a more acidic environment in the mouth and on the teeth. If you brush right after eating/drinking that, the pressure from the toothbrush can cause accelerated wear on the enamel. If you’re going to brush after a meal, it is preferable to wait one hour for the acid levels to neutralize. Night time brushing is less risky for wearing down enamel, because by the time we brush our teeth before bed it’s typically been well over an hour since our last meal of the day.
Here’s to an awesome school year for your children and you! We hope you’ll consider implementing these healthy habits in your family’s daily life to help make it a healthy year as well…and our team at Buda Dental Professionals is here if you have any questions!