It’s that time again; time for backpacks, bus stops, and bewildered parents confronting algebra homework for the first time in 30 years.
Launching into a new school year is always an adjustment to some degree, and with all of the preparation that goes into stockpiling supplies and mapping out new start times, health considerations occasionally get lost in the shuffle. To ensure a safe and successful transition, here are a few back to school health tips to get started. (Unfortunately, you’re on your own with the algebra):
- Prioritize bedtimes – Readapting to an early morning schedule can be a rude awakening for many kids after almost three carefree months. Head cranky attitudes off at the pass by establishing earlier bedtimes a week or so before the first day back. Dial the clock back a bit more each night until your new routine is set, and don’t neglect to turn off television, telephone, and tablet screens. Keep in mind, children ages 5-13 typically need eight hours or more of quality shuteye every night.
- Pack healthy (but interesting) lunches – Kids simply cannot focus on an empty stomach. But they can also be persnickety when it comes to the “same old thing.” Endeavor to pack healthy foods and snacks in their lunch boxes, including whole grains, fruits & veggies, and lean proteins. But get creative. Stray from the plastic-bagged sandwich standby. Try hummus, hard boiled eggs, dried fruit, or peas. Peanut butter is a tried and true – and protein-rich – favorite, but be sure to check with teachers and faculty for any allergies that may be present among your kids’ peers. And maybe leave a reassuring note. They’ll say they don’t want or read it (but secretly they do).
- Verify vaccinations – Are your kids’ immunizations up to date? Better double check. KinderMender follows all CDC guidelines for necessary vaccinations, and childhood immunization schedules are updated according to AAP standards. Parents and guardians should consider scheduling a physical for their children to rule out any pre-existing conditions that a school nurse would need to be made aware of, and to take advantage of their pediatrician’s most recent back to school health tips.
- Get on the ball – Most schools require a sports physical – and completed participation forms – before a child can partake in any athletic activity. Your pediatric provider will screen for any underlying cardiac or respiratory issues that could put a child at risk. If asthma is present, physicians can ensure that a rescue inhaler is readily available, and can put to ease any concerns regarding recent concussions. Referrals can be made to medical specialists if needed.
KinderMender does not require an appointment for sports physicals. However, with the first day of school swiftly approaching, students and their guardians are encouraged to stop in as soon as possible, or schedule a physical online.
With the recent opening of our Timonium clinic, KinderMender is primed to do its part in keeping Maryland’s kids healthy, happy, and learning throughout the school year.
Good luck, everyone!