As summer is quickly coming to a close in the next few weeks, back to school is getting closer for kids, parents, and their families. As you start to prepare for your child to return to school, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your child's health. Most of this information is from the American Academy of Pediatrics, but I highlighted some important areas below.
1) Make that Doctor's Appointment: Especially before entering kindergarten, 7th grade, and 12th grade, there are required immunizations that need to be completed. Check with your doctor about this, or review this chart from the Ohio Department of Health. In addition, many children require sports physicals and paperwork to be done before school starts. Finally, some children need paperwork completed for medications to be given at school. Does your child need an Epi-Pen? Did you know there's a shortage? Check out this report from WKBN about the Epi-Pen shortage.
2) Change that Sleep Schedule Now: Studies have shown that sleep is critical for school success. For adults, it takes us about a week to get used to a new sleep/wake schedule. However, especially for young children, it can take longer than that. So, consider starting that new sleep schedule now. As a part of developing that school sleep routine, the first step is to have your child turn off electronic devices well before bedtime.
3) Kids need Breakfast: Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. I also encourage parents to check into what cafeteria items will be available at school, and most schools have this on their website. In addition, some children also may qualify for free or reduced price food, but parents need to check into this with their school.
4) Backpack Safety: Choose a backpack with wide paded shoulder straps and a padded back. Remind your child to always use both shoulder straps. Pack light, and remove unneeded items. The backpack should never weigh more than 10-20% of your child's body weight.
5) Bullying: Teach your child to be comfortable with when and how to ask a trusted adult for help. Monitor your child's social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.
Addendum: Thanks to WKBN-TV in Youngstown, Ohio for this article entitled, "A Salem Doctor Is Preparing You To Help Your Kid To Get Back In The Classroom"