Keeping your child healthy during the school year requires some preparation.
As summer fun draws to a close, many parents are busy refreshing their kids’ wardrobes and gathering all the right binders, bookbags, and pencils. In the hustle and bustle of preparing for the school year, it’s easy to forget to attend to your child’s back-to-school health checklist.
However, your child’s health is one of the most important things to get in order before school kicks into gear. With hours each day spent sitting at a desk, your child’s activity level is sure to decline once late August or September rolls around. Additionally, increased exposure to other children almost guarantees your child will come into contact with some germs.
For these reasons and more, it’s important to take steps to bolster your child’s health in the weeks leading up to the first day of school — you’ll be glad you did! Here’s a checklist of steps to keep in mind:
1. Get your child’s health information in order.
Before your child’s first day of school, it’s a good idea to get ahold of their medical records and ensure their emergency contact information is up-to-date. Further, it’s wise to communicate with the nurse at your child’s school ahead of time to develop an action plan for the unlikely event that something happens to your child during the school day.
This is especially important if your child has a pre-existing condition such as asthma, diabetes, or allergies, or if your child needs to take medication during the course of the day. Make sure that your child and the school nurse know what to do both on a daily basis and in the case of an emergency to keep your child healthy and safe.
2. Schedule any necessary appointments.
If it has been awhile since your child’s last health checkup or teeth cleaning, you might want to get these appointments out of the way sooner rather than later — remember that your child’s schedule will only get busier once the school year kicks into gear. The weeks leading up to the first day of school are often the best time to get these checkups taken care of, especially if your child is due for any vaccinations.
It may also be a good idea to schedule vision and hearing appointments, as undiagnosed issues with your child’s eyes or ears can cause difficulties in the classroom. Finally, if your child is considering playing sports, you’ll want to be sure that their physical is up-to-date.
3. Practice a healthy sleep schedule.
Though it’s certainly not ideal, it’s not the end of the world if a child becomes a little bit nocturnal during the summer, sleeping late into the day and staying up into the wee hours of the night to read or play video games. However, such a schedule certainly won’t fly when the tardy bell is ringing bright and early in the morning!
If your child has become an estival night owl, start to ease them into a healthier sleeping schedule a couple of weeks before school starts — otherwise they’re certain to be groggy for their first couple of days of school. With a few weeks to correct their circadian rhythm, they should be sleeping soundly — and at an appropriate hour — by the time school rolls around.
4. Come up with a game plan for staying active.
During the summer, many kids log hours of physical activity every day, whether they’re swimming at the pool, running around the neighborhood with friends, or playing games of pickup basketball in the backyard. When the school year rolls around, however, many children find themselves spending most of the day sedentary.
To combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, you and your child may want to discuss ways for them to stay active during the school year. Maybe your child is a natural athlete and wants to join a sports team, or maybe dance lessons will keep them active and engaged.
A Partner in Keeping Your Child Healthy
If you have questions about preparing your child for the upcoming school year, make an appointment to speak with one of the pediatric experts at Kids’ Health. We’re dedicated to helping your child reach their best, both inside and outside the classroom. Contact us today!