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Back to School 101: When to Keep Your Child Home

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Now that school is back in session and children are more susceptible to COVID, colds and the flu, many parents wonder whether it is safe to send their child to school or not.  While many schools have specific guidelines regarding sick children, the following points are a general rule of thumb that will help you determine whether it is safe or not for your child and others. 


Your child will need to stay home if:

  • They have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • They are vomiting.
  • They have diarrhea.
  • They are in the first 24 hours of pink eye or strep throat antibiotics.

Generally, children can return to school when they have no fever, they can eat and drink normally, they are well rested and alert enough to pay attention in class and once they have completed any doctor-recommended isolation due to pink eye or strep throat.

Eating 101: Childhood Obesity

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Childhood obesity is constantly on the rise, so as parents we need to be sure that we are always monitoring our children’s fat intake.  In order to help your child, maintain a healthy lifestyle, be sure to establish good eating habits like the following:



  • Children with a family history of cholesterol and heart disease should drink 2 percent milk.
  • After their 2nd birthday, all kids should drink 1 percent milk.
  • Serve your child lean meats and fish.
  • Limit your child’s cheese intake.
  • Limit fruit juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
  • Offer low-fat snacks like yogurt, pretzels or fresh fruit.
  • Prepare foods using low-fat methods like broiling, steaming or roasting.


Back to School 101: Backpack Weight

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Last year, Consumer Reports sent a survey team to several schools to find out how much weight kids were lifting , in their backpacks.  Parents were shocked to learn that of the students surveyed, the average weight hauled by second-graders was 5.3 pounds, fourth-graders carried 4.6 pounds and sixth-graders averaged 18.4 pounds.

Backpack Weight

To help alleviate some of the back pain and stress, Consumer Reports suggest that parents should keep the following factors in mind:

  1. Check for good stitching that can hold a decent amount of weight.
  2. Shoulder straps anchors should be about 1- to 2- inches below the top of the shoulder.
  3. The bottom of the backpack should go along the curve of the lower back and the backpack itself should not fall more than 4 inches below the waist.

Healthy Practices for Back to School

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It's already that time of year again when your children will be heading back to school.  While it may be a time of relief for parents, it can also be a time of stress when you are dealing with all of the illnesses and germs that children are susceptible to at school.

So, how can you help keep your child healthy throughout the school year?  Follow these tips to keep your child in school and out of the doctor's office:

  • Remind your child of the importance of washing their hands, not only before lunch and after using the rest room, but also when they get home from school.
  • Remind your child to keep their fingers and hands out of their mouth.  So many germs are spread this way and infections could ensue.
  • Give your child a daily vitamin.  This will help them to build their immune systems and fight infections better.
  • Remind your child not to drink from other children's cups or use their utensils.
  • Make sure your child gets a physical before the school year starts.  This will help to target any health problems prior to the start of the school year.
  • Make sure that your child gets 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.  Getting the right amount of sleep is important to keeping your child healthy.
  • Make sure to feed your child a nutritious and balanced diet each day.  Getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals in their diet will also aid in building their immune systems and will lead to an overall healthier child.

Boosting Your Child's Brain Power

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Every parent wants to believe that their child is a genius or has the genius potential.  While intelligence clearly has a genetic component, there are some things you can do to boost learning and intelligence in your child.

Play brain games : Games like chess, cryptograms, riddles, and crosswords all train the brain to perform harder than other games.  These games promote strategic thinking, problem-solving, and complex decision making.  If you keep these games on hand and challenge your children with them you will help boost their intelligence, in a fun way.

Encourage them to play an instrument : While the early days of your child learning an instrument may not be the most pleasing to the ears, by encouraging your child to take up playing an instrument they learn to utilize their right brain more than others who do not play an instrument. Organized music lessons also benefit children's IQ and academic performance : plus the more years they take lessons, the greater the effect.

Encourage physical fitness : Studies show a strong relationship between physical fitness and mental intelligence in school-aged children.  By participating in organized sports, children learn confidence, teamwork, and leadership.  So instead of letting your child head to their video game system or cell phone after dinner encourage them to grab a ball and head outdoors for some physical activity.

Avoid junk food : Cut out (or significantly reduce) the amount of sugar, trans fats and other junk food in your child's diet and replace them with high-nutrient alternatives for early childhood mental and motor development.  Pay attention to what your child is eating, and good grades will come in time!

Encourage curiosity : Allow children to explore new ideas and become interested in different hobbies and interests to foster intelligence.  Ask your child about their interests and allow them to try a number of different hobbies and activities throughout the course of their childhood.