With the hustle and bustle of the new school year now underway, it can be easy to let things slide, like keeping up with your family’s health and wellness needs. Local 5 spoke with a Green Bay family and their care provider for some tips on how to keep wellness at the top of your to-do list.
“We just wrapped up all our summer sports that we’re in, all the soccer softball everything,” said Jamie McGowan from Green Bay. “We thought we were done, then the fall sports started.”
With three active kids in grade school, the McGowan family’s busy schedule doesn’t take a break for back-to-school preparations.
“It’s kind of never ending. My husband and I both coach where we can, so that keeps us busy,” Jamie explained.
But working mom, Jamie, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think it’s good for them to be in the outdoors, in sports, to get the fresh air,” Jamie said.
Not just sports for their physical health. Jamie says other activities, like second grader Molly’s Girl Scout troop …
“I was a Daisy last year,” Molly explained.
…help support her children’s emotional well-being as well.
“Being with their friends and making new friends is really important to develop those social relationships,” Jamie said.
“I like that I get to see my friends,” she said.
“So does her medical provider, Kathy Merrill, a pediatric nurse practitioner with Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
“It’s very important for kids to get involved both physically and socially,” said Kathy Merrill, pediatric nurse practitioner with Aurora BayCare Medical Center. Merrill is the McGowan’s care provider.
Jamie admits, with such a hectic schedule, their routine, like every other family’s, is not always perfect.
“Sometimes we forget about homework and save it until the last minute when everyone’s tired,” she said. “So, this year we’re trying to be better about that.”
Merrill says the McGowans are doing a great job balancing all the activities and still making sure they take care of their health and wellness. She says they’re actually right on track, prioritizing one thing that should be at the top of every family’s to-do list.
“It’s really, really important to get a good night’s sleep,” Merrill emphasized. “Kids aren’t getting enough sleep.”
Merrill recommends 9-12 hours of sleep a night for kids ages 6-12, for teenagers 8 – 10. Even though she says she knows how hard that is with busy schedules, it really is imperative for children to function at their best.
“It helps with their attention during the day at school and it helps to decrease some anxiety and depression too throughout the day,” said Merrill.
She says the same goes for nutrition, making sure your kids have a healthy breakfast before school and handy snacks to grab on the go.
“Make sure that there are healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, yogurt, cheese sticks,” Merrill recommended. “So, if kids are on the go and need a fast snack, they’re not always going to chips and sweets, things like that.”
The best way to do that?
“It’s really good to be a good role model and to make good choices yourself,” Merrill advised.
That’s a lesson the McGowan family does a fantastic job of teaching themselves.
“If you have a soda and a brownie for lunch, you’re going to feel like you want to fall asleep at your desk,” Jamie explained. “So, a healthy lunch is really important for kids to keep them focused and able to pay attention to their teachers. Healthy eating is important for a lot of reasons.”