Parents advised to lose kids’ bad habits before school year

A week before schools reopen, experts provide tips to parents.

August 26, 2010 04:30
2 minute read.
School in Jerusalem.

311_school out for summer. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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A week before schools reopen, experts are advising parents to help their children abandon some of the bad sleeping and eating habits they may have adopted during the vacation, and prepare for routine.

Their eyesight should also be checked, experts say, and their schoolbags should be examined to ensure that they aren’t too heavy and won’t harm the children’s backs.

According to Clalit Health Services psychologist Deganit Ben-Nisan, parents should habituate children to going to sleep a bit earlier than they were used to during the two-month vacation, in the days leading up to September 1 – the first day of school.

Prof. Yehezkel Weissman, head of the emergency department at Schneider Medical Center for Children in Petah Tikva, advised Tuesday that kids under the age of nine should not be allowed to cross the street alone. They should be taught not to cross roads between vehicles or behind buses, or to play ball near streets, he said.

Adina Ben-Aharon, head of the nutrition and diet unit at Soroka University Medical Center, urged parents to see to it that kids eat a nutritious breakfast before going to school. Eating a snack at 10 a.m. is not enough to provide them with energy to get through the morning, she said. A breakfast can include wholegrain cereals; a sandwich or roll with white cheese, tuna, an omelet or avocado spread; yogurt; cut vegetables; and fruit. For lunch, processed meats and sweetened or salty junk-food snacks are not recommended. Children should take a water bottle to school and refill it often.

Eating habits learned now will stick with them their whole lives, Clalit experts said.

When they return home, children of all ages should be encouraged to exercise and not to eat opposite the TV or computer screen, the experts added.

Besides this, shoes and schoolbags should be suited to the child. The schoolbag should have broad, cushioned straps and an orthopedic back. With books and supplies inside, it must not weigh more than 10 percent to 15% of the child’s weight.

Head lice, meanwhile, can be wiped out through regular combing with a metal, fine-toothed comb through wet, conditioned hair and using recommended anti-pediculosis shampoos twice – once to kill existing lice, and 10 days later to kill any that have popped out of eggs.

In addition, the Association of Pediatric Ophthalmologists urged parents to take children for an eye exam before the beginning of the school year to determine whether they need glasses or whether their current glasses are still suitable. Headaches and difficulty concentrating – even disruption of class – can be due to a child’s inability to see the board or read his or her books. Free vision exams are available at Maccabi Mimabat Rishon branches around the country for children entering first grade.

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