Updated on August 5, 2020, 07:49PM (AST)

Sanitary Doctor Gulnara KAKIMOVA:

On the eve of the new school year parents face a difficult task - to get a child ready for school. Sanitary Doctor of the Directorate of Non-infectious Diseases Prevention of the Branch of the Scientific and Hands-on Center for Sanitary and Epidemiological Experts Assessment and Monitoring of the Ministry of Health, PhD in medicine Gulnara KAKIMOVA talked in an interview with Interfax-Kazakhstan what uniform to choose, what schoolbag to buy and how to organize school child’s meals and timetable for him/her to more easily learn.


- Gulnara Sakhievna, could you tell what should parents pay attention to when choosing a uniform and a schoolbag?

- Properly chosen clothing is very essential to the child’s health. When purchasing a school uniform, it is important to remember that in this clothing the child would spend 5-6, or even more hours. It is necessary to choose the right size of clothes and make sure that the child feels comfortable both in a seated position and when walking.

Clothes should not unnecessarily constrain the child’s movements, should not be too tight because a tight skirt or tight trousers will result in abdominal pain, and tight shirts and sarafans could affect breathing. Therefore, in the first instance the school uniform must safeguard the child’s health and motor activity.


- To what fabrics preferences should be given when a school uniform is bought?

- Clothes which the child has on in an educational establishment for a long time must be made from natural materials that meet the biological and chemical safety requirements in accordance with technical regulations. It is recommended to choose made fabrics from natural fibers (wool, cotton, linen, silk) and viscose, possessing the best hygienic properties, so that the child’s skin breathes, and this does not cause allergic reactions.

The fabrics composition should be as follows: at least 35% of the clothing top layer consists of natural fibers or viscose; lining, as the second layer, must consist of 100% natural fibers or viscose; no less than 65% of blouses and shirts should consist of natural fibers or viscose.

In addition, the criteria that ensure the school uniform safety and quality are identified as follows: air permeability, electrostatic field strength and color stability.


- Are there any requirements for the school child’s shoes?

- Replacement shoes must be bought. The best option is products made of natural leather. The soles should be flexible so that movements are not constrained.


- Time ant time again we had to see first-graders dragging a heavy briefcase on the ground. Therefore, the question of how to choose the right schoolbag in order not to harm the child’s health is of interest to many [parents]?

- Choosing a schoolbag for a first-grader or elementary school student is one of the important issues every parent is concerned with. As global practice shows, the big weight of a school bag (backpack, rucksack) affects children’s health.

We advise you to choose a backpack with a rigid orthopedic back, which has a special frame, and should be rigid, evenly distributing the weight and pressure across the spine to maintain the child’s back in an upright position without deforming the spine. Straps should be wide and made of material smooth to the touch, handles should be adjusted in length, and the child should wear it only on two straps, on the back without constricting the waist and neck.

The schoolbag size and weight must match with the child’s height and age. The weight of an empty school bag should not exceed 1 kilogram, with school stuff - a maximum of 10% of the child’s total weight.

For example, the schoolbag for 1st-3rd graders must weigh up to 1.5-2 kg, 4th-5th graders - up to 2- 2.5 kg, 6th-7th graders - up to 3-3.5 kg, 8th-11th (12th ) graders - up to 4-4.5 kg.

When choosing, it’s also necessary to pay attention to such details as reflective inserts; drivers will be able to notice your child more easily crossing the road in the dark or in a poorly lit area.


- Some parents when sending a child to school put into a knapsack a sandwich or an apple, considering that it is enough for him/her to have a snack, and a full-course dinner s/he can eat in the evening at home. Is it correct?

- The children’s school period is characterized by the child’s body intensive growth processes, so eating disorders can lead to serious deviations in the functioning of all the child’s body’s systems.

In addition, the hungry child will not be able to properly adopt teaching material, since all his/her thoughts will be associated only with food. That is why one of the most important school tasks is to provide properly organized dietary regime for all students.

With well-organized catering at school, a student gets a hot breakfast or lunch in the dining room. In this case, the interval between meals should not exceed 3-4 hours. Therefore, it is best if the child has at first light breakfast at home, and in the school cafeteria s/he can supplement with the second breakfast or lunch, and eat an afternoon meal and dinner after classes. If a child visits an extended day group after classes, school meals should include an afternoon meal.

The child’s school diet should be balanced, diverse and satisfy the child body energy needs related to its development and growth, increasing emotional or physical workload, changes in environmental conditions, etc.

The organization of adequate school catering in many instances depends on teachers. They are responsible for smoothly organized meals for school children, and ensure that students receive a hot breakfast meal or lunch and at the same time eat without haste.


- Some children are too picky with food and refuse to eat in the school canteen. What to do?

- It is necessary to understand that the school menu is prepared without taking into account your child’s taste preferences. And when devising a ration you excluded those dishes and foodstuffs from his/her diet he/she dislikes then at school no one will do it. Therefore, experts recommend even in preschool age that the child learn to eat not only tasty, but also nutritious foods.

Another reason, no less common, for refusing school meals is the child’s food allergies and various diseases. If your child is allergic to certain food, then not all food in the school canteen is suitable for him/her. And with certain diseases (diabetes, gastritis, etc.), it is necessary keep with certain diet, which cannot always be maintained at school. Therefore it is very important to warn teachers beforehand of any problems with the child’s health.


- Let’s talk about the school child’s day planning. In my childhood, every first grader, had a piece of paper with a day schedule on the table under a glass sheet. Of course, not everything and not always was observed, but we tried to stick to. What do doctors think on this matter?

- The school management and recreation organization issues for school children are of great importance. The schedule observance is very important in the school child’s daily life. The schedule disciplines, helps to be self-disciplined. This is especially relevant for first-graders, as this helps the school child to get used to a new rhythm and correctly combine rest and study.

If you noticed that your child is very tired and becomes sluggish and nervous by the end of the day with his/her performance suffering, try to properly organize his/her schedule.

The quantity and quality of sleep, nutrition and motor activity have the most significant impact on the school child’s health state. The school children are encouraged to increase their usual sleep cycle (at least by 1 hour) during exams, before tests and during any intense mental activity. In children who sleep 2-2.5 hours less the norm, their efficiency in the classroom is down approximately 30%.

Here are the approximate sleep norms for schoolchildren: 1st-4th graders - 10-10.5 hours, 5th-7th graders - 9.5-10 hours, 6th-9th graders - 9-9.5 hours, 10th-11th graders - 8-9 hours. Daytime sleep for up to 2 hours is additionally recommended for first-graders.

Particular attention should be paid to the child’s motor activity and fresh airwalks. The duration of walks, outdoor games and other types of motor activity should be at least 3-3.5 hours for junior students and 2.5 hours for senior students.

As a rule, the school child’s properly organized weekday quickly brings about positive changes to his mood, well-being and performance.


- Thank you for the interview and recommendations.

August, 2018
© 2020 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
Copying and use of these materials without reference to the source is prohibited


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