Ah, the first day of school: a time for new outfits, cluttered drop-offs and a barrage of photos. It's also a time to reevaluate your child's health and wellness because every early learner needs a strong, healthy foundation to build on.
Help prepare your child, both physically and mentally, by adding these eight tips to your back-to-school checklist.
1. Make sure they're up to date on their vaccinations.
Putting school requirements aside, keeping up with your child's immunizations is one of the most important things you can do for them. This vaccination guide, from Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, can help you keep track of what they need, and when.
2. Get their eyes checked.
Doctors recommend a comprehensive eye exam during the preschool years (3 to 5 years old), and then again during the school-aged years (over 6 years old). But they may need more frequent exams with certain conditions. Learn more about vision care for kids.
3. Build healthy sleep habits.
According to Dr. Victoria Sharma, medical director of the Sharp Grossmont Sleep Disorders Center, "Youngsters between ages 6 and 13 need nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, while those ages 14 and up should get eight to 10 hours of shut-eye." Learn how to get kids on a regular sleep schedule.
4. Put a focus on good nutrition.
Kids love junk food, which is why these nutrition tips from Dr. Angelica Neison can come in handy. She stresses the importance of giving children healthy options, and perhaps the toughest task of all — modeling good eating habits ourselves.
5. Talk to them about school violence.
When school shootings happen throughout the country, it's hard to keep kids from hearing the media details or community conversations. More importantly, it's hard to know if you should. Clinical psychologist Dr. Kelsey Bradshaw shares tips and talking points for discussing school violence.
6. Set open communication about cliques.
One of the hardest parenting moments comes when you witness your child being hurt by their peers. It's up to parents to help children recognize healthy friendships. Read four tips parents can use to help children face cliques.
7. Limit their screen time.
Switching from summer to school-year screen time can be a challenge, as many parents are more lenient when school is out. Setting consistent rules is important, and does affect a child's learning. Try these six tips for building good screen time habits.
8. Help them (and you) make health a priority.
School year sicknesses are unavoidable, but there are ways to keep them to a minimum. Pediatrician Dr. Michal Goldberg shares helpful information on tackling germs, overcoming illness, and keeping health and wellness top of mind.