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Top Tips for a Healthy School Year with Lisa Neligan, Private GP

29th, Aug 2023

The new school year brings excitement and new challenges, but it also requires us to pay special attention to our children’s well-being. We spoke to Dr Lisa Neligan, Private GP at Kingsbridge Private Hospital who provides some top tips to ensure a smooth and healthy transition back into school.

1. Sleeping Habits - As the new school term begins, children’s sleep will start to settle into a more regular routine. Proper sleep routines are essential for children’s physical and mental development, so establishing a consistent sleep schedule is crucial. It is recommended that children should be aiming for 9 to 11 hours sleep a night. Well rested children are more focused, alert and better equipped to handle the demands of the school day as lack of sleep can affect both behaviour and performance.


2. Promote Regular Hand Washing - Handwashing is the first line of defence against the spread of illness. At the start of the school year, it is important to teach your child proper handwashing techniques and remind them to wash their hands frequently, especially before meals and after using the bathroom. Encourage your children to sing the alphabet or the happy birthday song while they are washing their hands and teach them to wash the fronts and backs of their hands as well as in-between fingers.


3. Manage Screen Time - As online learning becomes more prevalent, it’s important to strike a balance between screen time for educational and recreational purposes. Excessive screen time can lead to eye strain and disrupted sleep patterns. Encourage outdoor activities and engaging in non-screen activities to reduce screen-time and increase social development. Try enrolling your child in after-school activities or try walking/cycling to and from school!


4. Address Mental Health - The transition back to school can be a challenging time, creating stress and anxiety for some children. Social and separation anxiety, the fear of not fitting in or keeping on top of classwork can take a toll on children’s mental health. Aim to keep communication channels open with your child and watch out for any behavioural changes or signs of distress. Encourage your child to express their emotions and seek professional help if needed.


5. A Balanced Diet - Good nutrition is the foundation of overall health. Encourage a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy products. Avoid excessive sugary snacks and beverages as they can lead to energy spikes and crashes throughout the day. Ensure that your child is also eating breakfast before they head to school as student’s who eat breakfast are more alert during the school day than those who skip this important meal! A well-nourished child is better equipped to concentrate in class and stay active throughout the day.


6. And Finally Avoiding The Dreaded Nits! - Nits can be a real headache for parents but unfortunately head lice are incredibly common and it's likely that your child will experience them several times while at school. Lice require close hair-to-hair contact to walk from one head to another, so unfortunately, they tend to be more common in girls, especially with long hair which isn't tied back.


It is impossible to protect against head lice entirely but there are ways you can minimise the chance of infestations, including tying back long hair, avoiding or minimising head-to-head contact, and checking and treating family members if necessary. The key is to be vigilant; check your children's hair regularly to catch and treat any lice early on before they get the chance to lay eggs.

Kingsbridge Private Hospital provides a range of paediatric services for infants, children and adolescents in the comfort of our five-star facilities. If you have any concerns or would like to speak to one of our Private GP’s, get in touch by emailing info@kingsbridgeprivatehospital.com or by simply visiting our website at kingsbridgeprivatehospital.com

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