When children return to the classroom this time of year, sometimes they wind up getting sick.

They’re exposed to new environments, new children … and new germs. Kids touch everything in the classroom, on the playground, and on the bus. But there are some steps you can take to boost your child’s immune system.  Here are some tips:

Enough Sleep: Make sure your child gets adequate sleep by establishing an early enough bedtime and enforcing a routine. You may want to start easing into this sleep pattern in the days leading up to the start of school. Remember, most children need more than eight hours of sleep each night.

Good Hygiene: Teach good habits to your kids, such as hand washing after going to the bathroom and before eating lunch. You may want to provide a travel-sized hand sanitizer for your child to keep with them. Remind your children not to share drinks or foods with other kids.

Healthy Diet: Don’t resort to junk food options in packed lunches or at breakfast time. Healthy foods help support a strong immune system, plus they’ll keep your child full for longer during the school day. Make it easier on yourself by prepping fruits, veggies, and proteins in snack-sized containers before the week starts. Some foods found to boost immunity are citrus fruits (high in vitamin C) and dairy products (high in zinc).

Limit Stress: Talk your child through any back-to-school nerves, since the start of a new academic year can be stressful. Too much stress can lead to trouble sleeping and other health issues. Keep the lines of communication open, and make sure you don’t over-schedule.

Deter Distractions: Help keep your children focused on homework and getting to bed by limiting the amount of electronic distractions. Turn off computers, TVs and mobile phones at a certain time each night. And encourage physical activities or outdoor time.

Of course, if your child does get sick, you can visit any of the ZipClinic Urgent Care Centers in Colorado, Kentucky, or Montana. Have a great school year!