Back to School Health Checklist
School is in full swing and as parents, there are lots of ways you can keep your kids healthy and strong this year!
To get your kids ready for the new academic year, check out this checklist for inspiration.
Your Healthy Back-to-School Checklist
Many schools require an up to date shot record before they enroll any students, so make sure that your child has all their required shots, especially if they’re moving into middle or high school.
If your kids haven’t had a physical within the last year, odds are they’re due for a few shots. For kids entering middle school, most of them will need a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine, the HPV vaccine, and the quadrivalent meningococcal (MenACWY) vaccine.
Kids should also receive annual influenza vaccines, ideally in the early fall. If your child needs a vaccine when the school isn’t offering it, you can get them at nearby pharmacies or your doctor’s office if it’s available.
Make Sure Your Child’s Emergency Contact Information is Up-To-Date
Have you or a close relative moved or changed phone numbers in the last year? If so, it’s likely that your child’s list of emergency contacts may need to be updated.
Should a child get sick or injured at school, most kids have more than one emergency contact listed. For instance, many children have their mother, father, grandmother, aunt, or other relative or family friend listed in order of whom should be called if an emergency rises.
As a good rule of thumb, contact the school’s office before the school year begins to confirm that all addresses and phone numbers are in order.
Confirm Your Child’s Medication with the School
If your child has daily medicine or other physical restrictions like asthma or an allergy, make sure that the school nurse and/or secretary is aware of their needs.
Even if your child only takes their medication at home, the school still needs to be aware. And if they will need to take their medicine while at school, be sure that their prescription is in a pharmacy bottle.
Revamp the Sleep Schedule
Summer is a great time for kids to play, get outside and enjoy time with the family. But it’s also a time where some bad sleeping habits might develop.
Not only does a healthy sleep schedule help kids perform better at school, but it also reduces the risk for weight gain and diabetes.
To help your child get on a healthy sleep cycle, start setting their bedtime about 15 minutes earlier each night about two weeks before classes start. Do this until your kids start going to bed and waking up during times that will work for school.
Keep in mind, children between the ages of 6 and 12 should get roughly 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night, while teenagers need about 8 to 10.
Keep Germs at Bay
It’s much easier for kids to get sick when they’re at school, given the increased exposure to germs and potentially bad hygiene habits. Children who wash their hands are 38% less likely to contract an upper respiratory infection or other illness.
Since you can’t monitor your child’s hygiene habits, make sure they know how and when to wash their hands.
Keep Your Kids on the Move with a Healthy Lunch
Not only can the same old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches get old after a while, it’s not the most nutritional lunch for kids. And while many schools provide lunches, they still rely on heavily processed foods.
The best way to make sure your kids are eating enough nutrient-rich food, it’s important to make the time to pack a lunch, or teach them how to do it themselves!
Try this simple formula: one whole-grain item, a protein, some fruit, vegetables, dairy, and a drink.
A good tip for fitting all those nutrients into one meal, and helping your children eat them all, is to use a bento-box-style lunch box
Pick the Right Backpack for Your Kiddos
Even though children grow quick, they’re still susceptible to backaches, joint pain and muscle strains.
Backpacks that don’t fit right and bear too much weight can reduce blood flow, lead to poor posture, cause headaches, upset the spine’s natural curve, and place undue stress on your child’s low back.
Click here for tips on how to choose a proper backpack for your child that helps them get through the day but keeps their spine healthy.
Make This School Year a Healthy One
Getting your kids back to school is a busy and fun time. Make sure it’s their best year yet by setting them up to be as healthy as possible.
Follow these tips to make sure they’re getting enough sleep, eating enough daily nutrients, practicing good hygiene, and staying well overall!
To learn more about how to help your kids stay healthy, check out our blog post on how to be active as a family!