In addition to buying school supplies and digging out backpacks, it’s important to focus on a few health-related “to-dos” as your kids head back to school. What should be on your family’s back-to-school health checklist? Make time for these important health activities during the back-to-school season.
See the doc
Make sure a yearly check-up with the pediatrician is on the calendar to monitor and address your child’s overall health and development.
At a well-child visit, your pediatrician should check that your child is up-to-date on all required childhood immunizations. If he or she has missed any, it’s important to play catch up to avoid illness. This includes getting a yearly flu vaccine.
Plan power meals
Start the day with a healthy breakfast, which is proven to help kids concentrate, perform better in school and have more energy. When packing lunches, aim for something nutritious and fun. Think kid-friendly pizza made with whole grain crust and loaded with veggies.
Set a schedule
Getting enough sleep is vital to your child’s ability to focus and learn. “Turn off and remove devices from bedrooms to promote healthy sleep habits,” says Dr. Dawn Stanley with the Sky Ridge Sleep Disorders Center. “And set a consistent bedtime before the school year starts to make sure you’re in a routine before the first day. Younger kids should get about 10-12 hours a night while adolescents (ages 13-18) should get at least 8 to 10 hours.”
Sweat out stress
School pressures and academic expectations can take a mental toll. Encourage your child to manage stress with exercise. Experts report that exercise can reduce tension, elevate mood, improve sleep and boost self-esteem. Studies show just five minutes of heart-pumping exercise has beneficial effects.
Watch out for RSV in your younger ones
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. According to the CDC, virtually all children get an RSV infection by the time they are two-years-old. Hear more about RSV from Sky Ridge Medical Center’s Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department Dr. Katrina Iverson: