Off to school we go!

Angela Milito R. N., Ottawa Public Health

September is here…off to school we go! The backpacks are packed, your child’s first outfit has been chosen and the whole family is excited to get back to routines after a long, hot summer.

Ottawa Public Health asks you to consider the following questions as your child heads out to school:

Is your child getting enough sleep?

How much sleep do children need? Sleep is essential to a child's proper growth and development. According to Statistics Canada, there are strong links between short sleep times and childhood obesity. Sleep is also crucial for proper brain development, immune function, memory, emotions, and behaviour. Read more.

How is your child getting to school?

There are lots of benefits in the classroom for children that walk or cycle to school on a regular basis. Some of these benefits include improved concentration and better coping with stress. Learn more about active and safe routes to school. If you child is cycling, skateboarding or scootering to school, don’t forget to wear a helmet.

What’s for lunch?  

Packing healthy and tasty lunches for your child to bring to school is an important task. A healthy lunch will give your child energy to play and learn. Follow Canada's Food Guide to make sure your child is eating a healthy meal at lunchtime. Try to include 3 to 4 food groups in your child's lunch bag.

Quick and easy lunch ideas.

Is your child feeling worried, afraid or nervous?

Children's mental health can be seen in their ability to cope with the world around them. It is normal for your child to feel nervous when it’s their first day of school. Children suffer from stress too. Stress is the way that our body reacts to different problems and challenges in our lives. Children do not have as much experience handling stress as an adult. Sometimes, small things or events can cause stress in children. Learn more about anxiety and stress in children here.

Does your child have the required vaccinations?

Vaccines are an important part of healthy growth and development. Think of them the same way you would healthy eating, physical activity, or proper sleep. If you are unsure whether your child has received one or more of these vaccines please call 613-580-6744 and speak to a nurse who can discuss which vaccines your child requires or visit our website.

Why play outside?

Did you know? Ontario preschoolers spend twice as much time being active when they play outdoors. When children are outside they move more, sit less, play longer and sleep better at night. Have fun, increase physical activity and decrease sit time. Here are some fun things to do outdoors as a family. 


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