GUEST BLOG POST: Jumpstart a Healthy School Year – by Dr. Susan S. Bartell

As we transition from carefree days of summer to structured, busy weeks of the school year, it’s a great time to start a new healthy lifestyle, along with the new notebooks! As kids return to school, as parents and caring adults, we must take an active role in helping them make healthy lifestyle choices, so they don’t slip into a “too much junk food” or “no time for exercise” rut. To do this, here are four conversations you get to have with your child:

1. “This fall, we’re making a pact as a family to make healthy changes. We’re going to eat fewer fast-food meals and more healthy home-cooked meals.”

2. “Here’s another great change – we’ll eat healthy snacks every day: fruits, vegetables, and low-fat cheese, yogurt and peanut butter, whole grain treats – at home and in your lunch box. Even if other kids bring less healthy snacks to school, we know that the best way to fuel your brain for learning is with healthy food!”

3. “It’s hard to stay active during the school year because you’re so busy. But, it’s important to move your body, so, I’m going to help you by making sure you get to play indoors or outside for at least half an hour every day – even when it’s cold!”

4. “You might not love this last one, but to help you stay active, we’ll limit screen time (TV, computer, handhelds) to no more than two hours each day. It might be hard at first, but your body will be happy, so I’m going to stay on top of it!”

For tips and ideas to help you and your children eat healthy and stay active – at home and school – visit Action for Healthy Kids.

A supporter of Action for Healthy KidsSusan Bartell is a nationally recognized psychologist and award-winning author who seeks to help people recognize that they can have greater control over their emotional health and physical well-being, and can improve the quality of their lives. She facilitates healthy lifestyle seminars on topics that include teaching parents how to raise children with healthy relationships with food and eating, and how to care for themselves through physical activity and exercise. She is the author of Dr. Susan’s Fit and Fun Family Action Plan: 301 Things You Can Do Today and writes a monthly feature for Action for Healthy Kids’ Family Corner.