Kids face a variety of health concerns, and school can be a time for parents to address these needs. From eating healthy foods to avoiding germs and getting a good night’s rest, take note of these seven health issues kids face now that school is back in session.
Kids need healthy food to fuel their bodies during a long day at school. Many families don’t have the resources to send their kids to school with a healthy lunch. One in five kids enrolled in California schools doesn’t know where their next meal will come from. But families in need may qualify for a free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch for their kids. Give your kids the best start you can by sending them to school with a full belly and a well-balanced lunch, whether you pack it yourself or they get it from school.
If your child has allergies, sending them back to school can be a scary task. Talk to your child’s doctor to form an allergy plan to keep them safe, and talk to your child’s school about their needs. With the right information on hand, your school can help keep the classroom and lunchroom a safe environment for children with allergies.
There’s nothing quite like going back to school for kids to share their germs. With colds, the flu, stomach bugs, hand foot and mouth and lice, it can seem like kids will catch just about anything when they head back to school. Talk to your kids about proper hygiene like hand washing and sharing food to avoid illnesses. Find out what your school would like you to do when your child is sick and how long they should stay home to avoid getting other kids sick.
With the cooler weather settling in, now is a great time to meet with your health care provider to make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccines. The effectiveness of vaccines and their dosage schedules are regularly studied, so it’s a good idea to talk to your child’s doctor about boosters even if you think they’re up to date.
Many parents don’t know their child needs glasses until they go to school. If your child is having trouble in school, it could be due to a vision problem. Watch out for squinting, sitting too close to the TV, headaches and other signs that your kid needs glasses, and have their vision screened regularly.
Bedtimes can get a little relaxed during the summer when the sun seems to stay up all night. But rest is essential for growing bodies and brains. When your kids go back to school, get them back on an appropriate sleep schedule for their age and set them up for success during the day at school.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Kids need at least an hour of physical activity a day. After your kids spend the day at school in the classroom, help them get outside and play. Physical activity will not only help your child have a healthy lifestyle, but it will help them do well in school as well.
“Most people don’t think much about it when they are younger, but the habits we develop at a young age influence our health later in life,” said Melinda Wallis, director of marketing at Pointe Meadows Health and Rehabilitation. And school is an important part of every child’s life as an ideal time to establish healthy habits. As your children head back to school, take inventory of your child’s health needs to make sure they have the best school year possible.
A version of this article was originally published by the Daily Herald.