7 Back-to-School Health Checks

Now that you’ve had a few weeks to settle in to the school routine, it’s time to check in with your kids’ health. During this busy transition period, many important health considerations are easily forgotten. We’re here to help—here’s a checklist of 7 important to-dos for maintaining the basics of good health, from the start of the school year, and all year long!

  1. Health records. Your child’s school needs current medical records on file. Has your child completed the required medical and dental checkups? Immunizations should be up to date, consent forms signed, and sports participation cleared if your child plans to try out for a school team.
  2. Hearing and vision. Sometimes, a student can struggle in school, and the reason is because they cannot see the teacher’s instructions on the chalkboard or hear the lesson. All the more reason to schedule the annual physical; hearing and vision tests should all be taken care of there.
  3. Sleep schedule. Is your child sluggish and tired on weekday mornings? Perhaps their sleep routine is off. Remember, toddlers need 11 to 12 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, preschoolers need 11 to 13 hours, and school-age kids need 9 to 11. It helps to limit screen time, caffeine, and spicy foods before bed. Read here to get back into the school sleep schedule.
  4. Ready for allergies. Allergic reactions are best avoided, but there’s no guarantee that your child won’t encounter nut exposure from a friend’s cookie or a blast of pollen on the playground. The school can’t administer anti-allergy medication, even if it’s over the counter, without a prescription from their pediatrician on file. If you haven’t done so already, talk to the school nurse to discuss a plan in case of a reaction.
  5. Safe commute. According to USA Today, nearly half of carseats are installed incorrectly. Drop by your local fire department or police station to have your installation checked for free. If your child walks or bikes to school, ensure they are wearing their helmets correctly and continue to follow the rules of the road. For walkers, backpacks should be light and the weight comfortably distributed using both straps.
  6. Healthy eating. Unfortunately, cafeteria meals can be repetitive, and kids need a variety of colorful foods, including fruits and vegetables, to keep their energy and nutrition levels optimum. If you can’t pack a lunch every day, pack snacks for recess, and have healthy alternatives ready and waiting after school. Here are some ideas: Top 6 Tooth-Friendly Foods.
  7. Wash those hands! School kids seem to get sick often. Why? Hand-washing is the number one way to stop the spread of germs and sickness; perhaps, kids are more preoccupied with getting their hands on the monkey bars than into the bathroom sink. Don’t worry, just keep the reminders coming, and hand-washing will eventually become a lifelong habit for your child.

Are your kids remembering to brush their teeth twice a day? Read our Back-to-School Brushing Routine post to help keep this healthy habit in check.

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