No matter what grade your child is about to enter, there's always a back-to-school checklist of to-dos. Help your children start – and continue – the new school year in good health by adding a visit to your family doctor to the list. Whether it's their first day in kindergarten or they're off to college, Burnett Medical Center’s medical professionals are here to give you tips on a healthy school year.
Did you know one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all their vaccinations? On-time vaccinations throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccinations can not only save your child’s life, but they are safe and effective, they can save your family time and money, and they also protect future generations.
You can’t expect a child to learn if they’re having trouble seeing the whiteboard or hearing the teacher. If your child often has headaches, tilts their head to one side to read schoolwork, or holds objects unusually close or far away to view them, it could be a sign that they may have a vision problem. Have your family practice provider screen for vision and hearing problems during your well child check. Remember: You can’t assume your child has 20/20 vision just because they never complain about not being able to see. Children with vision problems may not realize the world isn’t blurry to everybody else.
Shift Back to a Sleep Routine
The most important school health issue for most kids is getting enough sleep. Elementary school-aged children need about 10 to 11 hours a night. That sounds simple, but the trouble is when parents work late, children’s bedtimes often get pushed back to create a window of family time. To make sure your child can make it through the day without dozing at their desk, your family needs to start gradually shifting their schedules a few weeks before school starts.
You may be planning healthy, well-balanced lunches to pack in your child’s lunchbox. Just don’t be surprised if those turkey sandwiches and carrot sticks come back untouched. Eating in new surroundings and under tight time constraints can make some children’s appetites evaporate. Don’t worry too much if your child only nibbles on lunch at school. Instead, focus on providing a protein-filled breakfast so your child will be ready to start the day.
The first day of school brings new friends, new activities, and a bunch of new germs. That’s why good hand-washing habits are critical for school-age children. Children (like adults) need to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom and before they eat. If your child rockets out of the bathroom without stopping at the sink, consider sending them to school with a packet of antibacterial wipes. They’re not as effective as soap and water, but they may have more appeal for young children.
Let’s Get Physical
Before your child starts any team sport, make sure he or she has a complete physical. It is also important that athletes know about proper nutrition, proper rest, and proper-fitting equipment. Having the right equipment, such as the appropriate shoes, helps eliminate soreness, blisters and injuries.
We wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy school year!
Submitted by: Halle Pardun, Marketing Director, Burnett Medical Center
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