It won’t be long before kids head back to the classroom for the start of another school year. While you need to make sure your child has all of the school supplies they need to succeed, it’s just as important to make sure they have a healthy school year. Dr. Meena Iyer, pediatrician and chief medical officer at Dell Children’s Medical Center has some back to school advice, she spoke to KXAN about back to school check-ups.
Question 1: Should back to school plan include a visit to the pediatrician?
Yes, a check-up is a great way to make sure your child’s year gets off to a healthy start. It’s also an opportunity to get a physical for your child, which is usually required for kids who will be playing a sport. Vaccines are required by the state for school entry. Vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including meningitis. Talk to your children’s health care provider and your doctor to find out which ones are recommended, and consider getting the flu vaccine, too. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.
Question 2: How can we help get our children back to a regular sleep routine?
Children and adolescents typically need more than eight hours of sleep. To get your kids ready to wake up earlier for school, consider making their bedtimes a little earlier each night for a week or two before school starts. Sticking to a routine is important too.
Question 3: What can parents do to help keep their children healthy in the classroom?
With so many people around, germs are bound to be lurking in classrooms. To help your kids avoid getting sick (and prevent them from bringing germs home), it’s important to show them how to protect themselves. Teach them to wash their hands after using the restroom and before going to lunch or eating a snack.
A healthy diet is the fuel children need to succeed in the classroom. Make sure you child is eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and foods low in fat.
Question 4: School can be stressful, how can parents help ease that stress?
Back-to-school is stressful for kids and parents alike, and too much stress can lead to a variety of health issues, like insomnia and sluggish immune systems. Help manage stress by talking to your children about anything that’s bothering them, and take care not to overload anyone’s schedule, including your own. Schoolwork and after-school activities are important, but it’s also essential to take time to relax, play and spend time as a family.