Here are a few health tips to think about as the kids go back to school!
- Encourage your kids to get enough sleep. School-aged children need 9-11 hours per night and teens need 8-10 hours per night. Blue light emitted from electronic devices interfere with sleep. Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed.
- Remind your kids to wash their hands before eating. Washing with soap and water is best, but if your kids cannot make it to a sink, try slipping a small hand sanitizer into your (older) child’s lunch box.
- Flu season starts in September. Schedule a flu shot at your child’s primary care office or check with a local pharmacy to see if they are offered. Flu shots are not perfect, but they provide some protection against influenza. Flu shots CANNOT give you the flu.
- Consider getting your child an eye exam before school starts. Kids may not complain of not being able to see well and poor vision may affect academic performance. An optometrist can assess for both nearsightedness (difficulty seeing far away such as reading a chalkboard/Smartboard) and farsightedness (difficulty seeing objects close to them such as difficulty reading).
- Start the day right with breakfast and plan for a well-balanced lunch whether you pack it or they buy it. Talk to your kids about nutrition and why it’s important. See the Mayo Clinic link below for general information and specific guidelines by age.
- Encourage conversation with your kids about school by asking specific questions about classes, friends, teachers, etc. This may give you insight to their world and help you identify potential bullying.
- American Academy of Pediatrics’ Back to School Tips
- National Sleep Foundation
- Handwashing Tips
- Information about Flu Shots
- Mayo Clinic’s Nutrition Information by Age