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It’s that time again! Here are the back-to-school health tips you need

It’s that time again! Here are the back-to-school health tips you need

Whether your little ones are ducking their heads under the covers to avoid going back to school or you have kids who can’t wait, you can help your kids study up for a safe and healthy school year. Our East Jefferson General Hospital team shares back-to-school health tips below.

Resetting the school night bedtime routine

It’s normal for kids to settle into a loose routine during the summer months. Your children, particularly those in middle school and high school, may be going to bed later at night and waking up later in the morning.

That’s all about to change, though, as they’ll need lots of quality sleep to perform well in school. Kids will need a few weeks of transitioning to begin falling asleep again at their school-year bedtime, so reintroduce that bedtime now. A solid bedtime routine will make a big difference when school starts.

Checkup for sports and general health

If your child hasn’t already visited a pediatrician or other primary care provider this summer, it’s probably time for a checkup, too. The East Jefferson Primary and Family Care at East Jefferson General Hospital provides care for the whole family and offers a wide variety of services, from sports physicals to nutritional counseling to treatment of illnesses. Our providers can also check basic health measures like weight and blood pressure and ensure your child is up to date on any necessary vaccines.

You’ll want to cross-reference the list of required vaccines for your child’s age and grade level, and consider getting other vaccines like the HPV vaccine, which can protect against certain types of cancer.

To prepare your kids for staying focused and attentive, you may also want to begin incorporating some quieter activities before they head back to school, like reading or doing crafts. Tapering back screen time can also be helpful.

Handwashing and other healthy habits

Since being in the classroom exposes your children to more germs than they likely encounter at home, you’ll want to help them learn (or relearn) the basics of good hygiene. Teach them healthy habits so they’ll be less likely to get sick—and to spread sickness.

Start with the basics of handwashing. Even the littlest kids can learn how to wash their hands properly. Teach them to use soap and water and rub their hands together for at least 20 seconds before rinsing them, hitting all surfaces of the hands, including under the nails. Encourage them to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when they don’t have access to soap and water.

It’s also good practice for your kids to know what to do when coughing or sneezing. Demonstrate how to cough and sneeze into an elbow or to grab a tissue to cover the mouth and nose. Be sure to remind them to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, too.

Learning healthy behaviors for life

Preparing your kids to go back to school is more about preparing them for life! By teaching your kids these healthy habits, you are setting them up to stay healthy and well throughout childhood and into adulthood.

Start by encouraging your little ones to be physically active—and model that behavior. Experts recommend that most children ages 6 to 17 get at least 60 minutes of physical activity, including active play, every day.

Help your kids fuel their bodies in a healthy way as well. Team up together in the kitchen to make nutritious lunches filled with fruits and vegetables, lean meats or other protein sources, and whole grains. Pack those together with water, keeping sugary drinks as an occasional treat, not an everyday addition.

Teach your kids the importance of knowing their limits, too. Kids experience stress just like adults do, and too much of it can be harmful to mental and physical health. Kids and teens should find leisure and school activities they enjoy that allow them to decompress after the school day and leave stress behind.

One final back-to-school health tip—get an annual flu shot. While it’s a bit too early in the year to receive this season’s dose, aim to get your vaccinations by the end of October for optimal protection against the flu.

Has it been a while since your child’s last checkup? Schedule an appointment at the East Jefferson Primary and Family Care today!