Back to school season is over, but cold and flu season has arrived. The first few months of school are often when kids get sick because they’re exposed to a ton of new germs from other students. So how can parents help make sure their kids stay healthy?

First and foremost, it’s important for kids to get enough sleep. For children between the ages of six and 12, pediatricians recommend getting nine to 12 hours of sleep each night. And for teenagers, eight to 10 hours of sleep each night is recommended. It can be beneficial for parents to establish a bedtime routine for their kids, ensure screen time is limited in the few hours before bed, and make sure sugar and caffeine intake is reduced in the afternoon to help kids sleep better.

If kids are involved in sports at all, they should always get a sports checkup at the beginning of the season. A sports checkup looks for certain lung and heart health concerns and checks for conditions like asthma. This analysis and an examination of the muscles and bones help to ensure kids are physically fit to play sports.

And when it comes to carrying a backpack around, it’s important for parents to ensure the bag isn’t too heavy. When filled with books and other items, backpacks can weigh up to 30 pounds! Generally, backpacks shouldn’t weigh more than 10% to 20% off the kid’s body weight. Backpacks should also fit properly and always be worn on both shoulders.

Last but not least, it’s important for kids to have proper nutrition. Sadly, 17% of kids between the age of two and 19 are obese in the United States. Eating healthy foods can help minimize the risk of a child becoming obese. Kids should also always eat breakfast so they can have more energy, be able to concentrate and be in overall good health. If a child tends to buy lunch, they should bring lunch from home when the school’s lunch is unhealthy or unappetizing.

Keeping kids healthy is not only crucial for their own health, but also for their fellow students’ and teachers’ health as well. So keep these tips in mind to ensure your child stays as healthy as possible this school year.