Your kids probably just kicked off summer vacation, but between the trips to the pool, family vacations, and summer sporting events, there are a few things you should add to your to-do list to get your kids ready for next school year. This back-to-school health checklist can help!
Many schools won’t allow any students to come to school without their immunization record. Immunizations, or shots, help expose your kids to a tiny dose of a disease so that their bodies will already know how to fight off a bigger dose if they come in contact with it again.
These shots protect them from all kinds of diseases, from measles to cervical cancer. And they’re safe!
Kids get different shots at different times, so these handy charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help you figure out what they need this year:
Health Alliance covers most immunizations, including flu shots.
As many as one in 20 kids can’t see out of one of their eyes. But if they’ve been living without vision in that eye all along, they might not even know something is off.
Expressing that they have trouble seeing can also be difficult for young children, and it can be just as hard for parents to realize their kids are having trouble seeing.
Seeing well is key to learning to read and write and doing well in school. So there’s no better time than back-to-school season to get your kids a vision checkup to see if they need glasses or an updated prescription.
Talk to the School
One of the most important parts of this time of year is talking to your kids’ school. Making sure the school has up-to-date information could save your child’s life.
- Is the emergency contact information correct for your family? Can the school reach you or your family if something happens?
- Does the school have a full list of all the medications your child takes? Even if he or she doesn’t take them at school, it is important the school knows what your child is on in case of an emergency.
- Does the school know of all the health problems it might have to deal with? For example, does the school know what your child is allergic to, like peanuts or bee stings?
- Does your child have any physical restriction, like asthma or a heart condition? Are there sorts of activities he or she should avoid?
Little Things That Make a Big Difference
Before school starts again, there are also some little things you can help your kids do to feel good and succeed in school.
- Pick a backpack that is safe for them. Backpacks should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s weight.
- Help them get enough sleep. A sleep schedule can help your kids get into a routine and stay alert all day long. Growing kids need at least 8 hours a night, and teens need even more.
- Make sure they have a healthy breakfast for all-day energy.
- Help them know their healthy options. Vending machines are always tempting. But you can help them know what choices are healthy and will keep them going all day and how to limit things like chips and candy.
- Encourage exercise. Whether it’s P.E., playing a sport, or riding their bike to school, just one hour of activity a day can help kids feel less stressed, stay healthy, sleep better, build their self-esteem, and grow healthy muscles, bones, and joints.
Talk to your kids’ pediatrician if you have more questions about their health this summer.
Annual checkups with your doctor are perfect at this time of year. Kids can get their shots, a routine checkup, and a sports physical all at once if they need it!