After two or more months away from school during the summer, a child’s immune system is given a rest. This is what makes the new school year so scary. Whether it’s back to school or the first day of pre-k or kindergarten, the germs that linger within the school year can cause serious health issues.
It seems like every year there’s a new virus that takes over the local schools and directly affects our children. Luckily, there are ways to ensure optimal back to school health! As a parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your children healthy and keep their immune systems strong.
Continue reading below for 9 tips to ensure your children don’t get sick when it’s time to go back to school!
1. Update Them on Vaccines
The first thing you’ll want to ensure is that your children are updated on all of their vaccines. As the years go by, your child is due for certain vaccines for their current age. Ensuring that they’re always updated on them is a great way to keep their immune system nice and strong.
Another option to consider is the flu shot. This is an optional vaccine, but it’s one you should think about having your children receive. The Centers for Disease Control highly recommend that all children receive the flu shot due to the high number of flu deaths in the past.
Send your child to school with peace of mind knowing that they’re bodies are protected from diseases that are preventable with proper vaccines.
2. Schedule a Well Check-Up or Physical
Close to the beginning of the school year, schedule your child to have a well-visit check-up or a physical with their pediatrician. This well-visit is the best way to make sure that your children are healthy and virus/disease free before beginning the school year. Your children’s pediatrician will test their vision, hearing, and much more.
All of the things that are important for maintaining a healthy body are checked to ensure that they’re in proper working order. If there’s something that’s not working the way it should, your children’s pediatrician will address the problem and offer solutions. For example, without a well-visit before school starts, you might not be aware that one of your children is having vision problems.
Without proper vision, your child might fall behind in school because they cannot see the teacher’s board clearly. This is true for all aspects of your children’s health. Schedule their well-visit or physical with their pediatrician to address any issues beforehand.
3. Schedule a Sports Exam
If your children play sports, it’s important to schedule a sports exam for them. A sports exam is a bit more in-depth than regular well-visits. Sports exams ensure that your children are in good enough health to participate in sports at school.
Aspects of their health that are checked include their muscles and bones and their heart and lung health. For example, you don’t want your children to suffer from asthma without your knowledge, which can seriously affect them while playing sports. Ask your children’s pediatrician about scheduling a sports exam at the same time as their well-visit.
4. Enforce Good Nutrition
As the school year begins, it’s important that you enforce good nutrition habits. Your children need every bit of nutrition that they can get to help their bodies fight off bacteria, viruses, and other germs. As the new school year approaches, start enforcing healthy breakfasts and lunches.
Continue these good habits throughout the entire school year. Ensure that your children eat a well-balanced breakfast every day before heading out to school. If your children don’t enjoy the lunch that the school offers, be sure to pack them a healthy lunch each day as well.
Good nutrition helps your children learn more efficiently and keeps their bodies and immune systems strong.
5. Teach Them Good Hygiene
Good hygiene habits are important to teach your children year-round but as the new school year gets closer, it’s important that you teach them proper hygiene habits and ensure that they’re practicing them. For the little ones, a good idea is to have them sing their favorite song while washing their hands to ensure that they’re washing them for a long enough period of time.
Also, teach them to use enough soap and warm water while washing. You’ll want to ensure that they’re washing before each meal and after playing outside as well. The basic hygiene rules that we have embedded into our minds may not be embedded into theirs quite yet.
No fingers in the mouth and no sharing straws or utensils are other good hygiene habits to teach them to prevent them from getting sick.
6. Get Them Active and Strong
Don’t forget how important daily exercise is for your little ones. Find two 30-minute slots throughout the week where you and your family can dedicate time to exercise. These slots can be directly after school or after dinner time or even during the weekends.
Staying active keeps your children healthy and energized throughout the school day. Consider walking your kids to school rather than driving, walking the dog after school, riding bikes before dinner, dancing, jumping rope, and any other physical activity that’s enjoyable yet beneficial.
7. Prepare for Allergies
Prepare for possible allergies ahead of time. Before the school year begins, make sure that your children haven’t developed any new food allergies or other types of allergies. If a possible allergy does arise, bring up your concerns with their pediatricians so that proper medication and instructions can be given.
As the new school year approaches, a new allergy season arises. Dust mites, pollen, mold, and other allergens gather in school classrooms, which might send your children’s allergies into overdrive. This leads to sneezing, coughing, runny noses, and possible sinus infections or asthma flare-ups.
Speak to your children’s pediatrician about properly preparing for possible allergies.
8. Reinforce Their Routines
Now is also the best time to reinforce your children’s routines. Ensure that they’re going to bed at a decent hour in the evening and waking up at the correct time each morning. It’s best to get them back into a healthy school-day routine a week or so before school starts.
Not having enough sleep before starting the school day or being off-schedule can affect your children’s learning abilities and overall health. Start their school-year routines before the school year starts to get them into the habit ahead of time.
9. Speak With Teacher About Health Concerns
The last and one of the most important things you want to do to keep your children healthy during the back-to-school months is to address any health concerns that you might have with their pediatrician and their teachers and school nurse. Get everyone involved with any health issues that your children might have. This keeps everyone in the loop and provides the best support for your children’s health.
Remember These Back to School Health Tips
Remember and practice these back to school health tips before the new school year starts. And be sure to keep up with them throughout the school year as well. Staying prepared is the best way to prevent your children from becoming sick due to all of the new germs that come along with the back-to-school months.
When health is your top concern for your family, enroll in the Meritage Medical Network and keep the entire family healthy year long.