COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Students all over central Ohio are packing their bookbags and heading back to the classroom. The start of a new school year means a change in sleep routines and the risk of getting sick.

Dr. Ben Bring with OhioHealth said one of the ways to help kids stay healthy is to get them back on a normal sleep schedule.

“I know kids are still kind of stuck in that summer schedule, wanting to stay up later and wanting to play outside,” Dr. Bring said. “Trying to go to bed at the same time every night, waking up at the same time every morning.”

It isn’t flu season yet, but other respiratory viruses, including a recent resurgence of COVID-19, have been spreading, according to Dr. Bring. Some tips to help avoid these illnesses include good hand hygiene.

“Always make sure kids are washing their hands, prior to eating lunch, ” Dr. Bring said. “Also good hand hygiene after coughing and sneezing… there’s a lot of different ways teachers can help with that including providing ways to wash their hands, whether in a sink or some hand sanitizer.”

Along with good hand hygiene, experts also urge kids to stay active. At least an hour of physical activity is recommended every day. There are plenty of beneficial ways for children to reach that goal including 30-minute walks, riding a bike or getting into afterschool programs.

Not only does this help physically, but experts say staying active can help kids’ mental health as well.

“It can help kids manage depression, anxiety symptoms, especially after you spend an entire day in a classroom,” said Dr. Bring. “Getting some time outside can be really beneficial.”

Other health tips include staying cool on hot days with plenty of fluids and watching your time outside. Dr. Bring also urged the importance of a healthy diet by cutting back on fast foods, processed foods and sugary drinks.

You can watch the full interview with Dr. Bring in the video player below.