Happy Parents Day! Sometimes Referred to as Back To School!

Admittedly, some parents need time to process the devastation of sending their kids back to school. For other parents, the day can’t come soon enough. This year in particular might seem especially sweet for parents and children alike when you take into consideration the fact that for two months, every time you went outside and breathed it felt like a punishment. Then every time you went inside to the sweet relief of central air you thought about your brutal electricity bill. Many of you may have heard that southern Ontario this week was hotter than Death Valley… And to think that some people deny the reality of climate change!

Thankfully, most schools are air conditioned. Here are some friendly back-to-school reminders concerning your child’s long-term health! Might as well start the good habits before the bad ones have a chance to ruin all of your hard work.

  1. Pack your child a re-usable water bottle! Many children do not drink enough water, and instead drink juice and pop. Juice and pop are by no means substitutes for water, and they are packed with sugar. Drinking sugary drinks all day can lead to serious attention deficits in the classroom which can lead to poor academic performance and behavioural issues. To be completely frank, even most adults do not drink enough water. Perhaps this is a challenge that you and your children can try and tackle together! And as you remind them that juice and pop are bad for them, they can remind you that coffee and beer are even worse. Drink more water!
  2. Make sure your child gets enough sleep. In their younger years, children crave routine. Establishing and sticking to a proper sleep schedule will help your child get the most out of their day. A tired child is not one who is paying attention in class or reaping the most benefit from their education. You remember your college years… well you probably don’t remember what you learned in college because you stayed up late all of the time. Sleep is so important! The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children ages 3 to 5 years old need 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night (talk about a dream!). Children ages 6 to 13 years old need 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night. Even if they give you a hard time about it, giving your child a proper routine with a set sleep schedule will benefit them so much, and it is a habit that they will likely carry on for the rest of their lives. A rested brain is a productive brain.
  3. Finally, your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 15% of their body weight. As someone who has been treating adults, and youth, who suffer from shoulder, neck, and back pain, let me tell you that a lot of this pain is preventable. At an early age, children are carrying around heavy, bulky textbooks and laptops in their backpacks. The heavy weight and strain on their backs and abdomen cause them to compensate by leaning forward. Firstly, this can cause a variety of posture problems, which in turn can cause long-term issues and chronic pain. Secondly, this compresses the spine in children and can cause intense lower-back pain. Teaching your children to be conscientious about how much weight they are carrying around all day can get them in the habit of having good posture, which can significantly reduce future health problems and chronic back issues. Furthermore, it is important to remember that backpacks are better than shoulder bags, because the stronger core muscles in the back and abdomen help to take on and distribute the weight more evenly. Shoulder bags can cause children to lean to one side and develop severe neck and shoulder pain, regardless of how heavy the bag is. Backpacks with thick straps are even better, because thin straps can cut off and reduce blood flow to the arms. This can cause discomfort and numbness. And if you see your child carrying around their heavy backpack while only using one strap, tell them that two strapping it is cool.

If you are suffering the consequences of having bad posture as a child or adolescent because no one told you that your backpack was too heavy, call the clinic and book an appointment with me. Massage Therapists are here to help!

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