The long days and sunny vacations are winding down, and stores are beginning to stock their shelves with pencils and notebooks. You’ve done your back to school shopping for pencils, paper, and school uniforms, but have you made a back to school health checklist? Below are a few things you can do to help your child get a healthy start to the school year.
Sunlight lasts longer in the summer months, and that combined with more time for sleeping in means that most people end up having later nights during the summer. But when school schedules resume, your child will need to start setting that alarm clock again.
To make the transition of waking up early again easier, start getting to bed earlier and waking up earlier now – a few weeks before the first day of school. A consistent sleep schedule will ensure that your student sleeps well and gets enough sleep.
The right amount of sleep for kids and teens is 9 hours. This can be hard with many students’ busy schedules, but make it a priority and your children will be able to focus better in school. There are a few things your kids can do to ensure that they get a good night’s sleep.
– Put phones away an hour before bedtime
– Stop caffeine intake
– Make sure the bedroom is dark
Most schools require student-athletes to get a sports physical before the school year begins. Sports physicals ensure that your child is healthy enough to participate in sports activities, and can be used to diagnose any respiratory conditions, such as asthma that might affect an athlete.
You can schedule a sports physical with your child’s pediatrician. It is often a good idea to schedule the sports physical for the same time as your child’s annual check-up.
If your child is having to squint in order to see the blackboard or to read her textbook, she may experience tension headaches and difficulties learning in school.
Within recent years, the amount of time that a student spends looking at a computer screen for schoolwork has increased, causing eyesight problems in many students.
Schedule an eye exam appointment before the school year begins. An optometrist will be able to diagnose any concerns or get your child a pair of glasses that will allow them to succeed in school.
Check in on mental health
Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are on the rise among young people, largely in part to bullying in school. However, many adults are not aware of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, leaving many cases untreated.
Many students won’t say if they are being bullied or feeling depressed. So don’t be afraid to check in with your child about how specific classes are going, how he likes his teachers, and about the health of his friendships.
Get a good fitting backpack
If your child’s backpack fits poorly it can have an effect on your child’s posture as she grows. A heavy and badly fitting backpack can be painful and harmful to children’s shoulders, necks, and backs.
Backpacks should always be worn evenly on both shoulders, not hanging loosely off one shoulder. Another option is to use a rolling backpack. This takes the weight and stress that comes with a regular backpack off a child’s back completely.
Checking these things off of your back to school list will make the transition back into the school year healthy and easy.