There’s no doubt about it: It’s been a unique school year.
As schools start to open back up again, there’s still a lot of new things for kids and parents to adjust to. But pandemic or not, you’ll want to make sure your children are safe and healthy when they return to the classroom.
Now is a great time to check in with your child’s primary care doctor, eye doctor, pediatric dentist, and more before returning to school.
Here are our top back-to-school health tips to make sure your family is healthy, prepared, and ready to take on in-person learning again!
Eye Exams for Back-to-School
Like tooth decay, your child’s vision is also something that can go unnoticed during a busy school year.
Even before remote learning, your child may have spent a good amount of time on tablets, laptops, or smartphones. All that screen time can have an impact on your kid’s eyes, causing fatigue and even damage to their retinas over time.
Your child’s eyesight can also change quickly throughout their early years, with an additional shift during puberty.
That’s why it’s important to book a visit with an eye doctor before classes start back up again. Children can often develop issues like misalignment and eye strain as early as preschool, so the earlier they see an eye doctor, the better.
In addition to getting yearly check-ups, start a conversation with your child about their eye health. Ask them if they experience things like fatigue or dizziness while reading or doing work on a screen, as this could be a sign of crossed or lazy eyes, or needing prescription glasses.
For children with severe vision issues, your visits to the eye doctor may also involve choosing a new pair of glasses — and picking out the perfect pair can really boost their confidence when they get back to school!
Get Up to Date on Immunizations
Another healthy tip for school students is getting on track with recommended school vaccines. This can ensure that they’re protected from common childhood diseases while at school.
For children ages 0-6, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends this list of childhood vaccinations:
Common vaccines include shots for:
- Influenza (Flu)
- Hepatitis A and B
Children ages 7-18 require a slightly different set of back-to-school shots for teenage and adult diseases, so be sure to ask your primary care doctor what’s appropriate for your kiddo before school starts up.
When it comes to COVID-19 and its various infectious strains, there are many preventative actions you can take while you prepare for a vaccine rollout in your area.
When sending your child back to in-person learning, be sure to follow state guidelines as well as checking their temperature before they head to school and monitoring their health closely.
As children can spread the virus more easily than adults, it’s important to limit their exposure and educate them on how to wear a mask properly.
Prep Some Healthy Lunches
Proper nutrition is a key element of keeping your child healthy throughout the year.
School can be a tempting environment for children — especially if there are vending machines with junk food in sight!
It’s not always easy getting your kids on board with healthy food — but it’s not impossible, either!
Packing healthy lunches is a perfect way to fuel your kids with the nutrients they need to stay focused in school. All you’ll need is a little prep time and creativity.
It’s best to get your children involved in the process, as this can help them learn to have more ownership over their health. You can have them pick out healthy snacks at the grocery store or make snacks at home with fun kid-friendly recipes.
If your child has a food allergy, it’s also crucial to teach them how to manage their health in a school environment. Make sure you communicate any serious allergies to your child’s teacher and the school nurse. That way, if an issue arises, there’ll always be a plan (or an EpiPen) in sight!
Stay Vigilant During Cold and Flu Season
While COVID-19 may be getting all the press this year, don’t let your guard down when it comes to the common cold and flu.
Children are especially susceptible to the cold and flu and tend to spread it to others more easily.
Make sure your children are washing their hands often and learning how to cover their sneezes and coughs with a tissue or their elbow.
There are plenty of fun videos for kids to help teach them about the spread of germs.
Other Common Illnesses at School
A lot can happen at school, and chances are your child will run into a variety of different germs both in the classroom and on the playground.
Pink eye and lice are commonly spread among children but are easily taken care of at home with over-the-counter solutions.
As these two are especially contagious, you’ll want to watch for early symptoms so as to not infect the rest of your child’s class. For pink eye, you might see swollen or red eyes. With lice, you’ll see an itchy scalp.
Practice Good Posture
If your kiddo is hauling around heavy backpacks, keep an eye out for if they’re stooping while walking.
Poor posture can cause back problems down the line. If their bag is too heavy, try a backpack on wheels or a bag with extra supportive straps to help distribute weight.
Speaking of backpacks, it’s never a bad idea to check their bags for bed bugs, as these critters notoriously love to stow themselves in the nooks and crannies of fabrics!
Your child will be around a lot of other students and their backpacks from home, so you’ll want to make sure no bed bugs have jumped into their bags.
Dental Health Check-Ups
We’re proud to continue to provide you and your family dental care throughout the pandemic. As we move forward, we want to make sure you get back on track with your child’s routine visits if you’ve missed a few.
Encouraging oral hygiene at home is essential, especially because preventative care at home is the most effective way to prevent cavities and future oral health issues.
This also includes helping them avoid unhealthy habits like nail-biting and thumb-sucking, which can cause jaw and mouth issues down the line.
Cavities are also important to watch for, as many young children develop them by eating too much sugar, or not brushing properly.
Getting a yearly check-up with your dentist will allow you to address any issues before the chaos of the school year. It’s also a great opportunity to help your children learn how to manage their oral care by improving their brushing, flossing, and promoting overall healthy habits.
Ready for a Back-to-School Dental Checkup?
We know you would do anything to keep your children healthy and happy.
When the school year comes back around, you’ll want to make sure you have everything covered with their oral and overall health.
Getting your kids back in a classroom environment will be exciting for the whole family. Your children will be back with their friends and classmates, and you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that they’re healthy and prepared for the year ahead!
Make sure they’re healthy and well-equipped to get back to school with vaccinations, dental and eye check-ups, and a healthy lunch packed and ready to go.