Now is the time to get children back in school mode, pediatrician says

Doctors stress eating right, getting plenty of sleep, exercise

SAN ANTONIO – Summer is officially winding down and children will be heading back to class at the end of August, so now is the time to get them back into school mode.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you kick start that routine.

No matter your child's age and grade doctors say you need to take them in for a checkup before they start school.

"Pediatricians and family physicians are to cover many things that keep kids healthy. And, this ranges from nutrition, diet, exercise, sleep schedules, screenings for developmental and mental health issues, all of which can contribute to a child's being able to succeed in school," said Dr. Ryan Van Ramshorst, a pediatrician with the UT Health Science Center.

He said any doctor will want to know what your child is putting into his or her body.

Pediatricians say they need lots of fruits and vegetables -- five different kinds.

Doctors advise getting children excited about eating them and wanting to try new things.


"I remember being a kid and my mom would try and find way to disguise these fruits and vegetables in a way that made it appealing to me, but my favorite was a piece of celery, peanut butter and raisins. Ants on a stick," Van Ramshorst said.

Doctors also stress the importance of sleep. Children in elementary need 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night.

"Kids that do sleep are better able to focus in school, have better grades and are more ready to succeed that school year," Van Ramshorst said.

What will help them sleep better at night? Keeping them active during the day.

"We recommend at least 60 minutes, or one hour, every single day of physical activity to get the heart rate up," he said.
The trick is finding something they want to do, Van Ramshorst said.