Back to School Health Tips

There’s more to “back to school” than supplies and new school clothes. Here are eight ways you can help your child stay healthy and perform better this school year.

1. Make Sure Your Child’s Immunizations Are Up to Date

All 50 states require certain vaccinations for children attending public schools. Many schools won’t allow children to attend without proof of these immunizations.

Which vaccinations are required varies by state and by your child’s grade level. Your school district should make this clear. You can also consult with your child’s healthcare provider for more information.

2. Schedule an Annual Exam and Vision Test Before School Starts

An annual checkup will help ensure your child is healthy before heading back to class. This checkup should include a vision exam.

Vision problems can cause significant challenges, such as learning to read and reading comprehension. They can also be difficult to spot, especially in young children who can’t articulate that there is a problem. For these reasons, some states require a vision exam for children entering kindergarten.

3. Get Your Child a Sports Physical if Applicable

A school sports physical, or pre-participation exam (PPE), will help determine if your child is healthy enough to participate in sports safely. Most schools require a PPE before a student is allowed to take part in sports. Even if it isn’t required, most doctors still strongly recommend annual physicals in order to help identify risk factors and reduce the risk of sports-related injury.

Doctors’ offices often have full schedules in the weeks before school starts, so consider getting your student’s school or sports physical at Twin Rivers Urgent Care. There’s no appointment needed and we’re open outside typical work hours. Simply walk into any our of locations and we’ll get your child ready for a winning school year without delay.

4. Provide Emergency Contact and Medical Information

Ensure that your child’s emergency contact information is up-to-date, not only at the start of the school year, but immediately following any changes. You should also provide contact information for your child’s healthcare providers, including his or her primary care doctor and dentist.

Complete all medical information forms provided by your child’s school. Any medical conditions or health issues need to be communicated to the school, such as allergies and restrictions to physical activity.

Your child’s school nurse and/or school secretary need to know about medications your child takes, even if they’re taken only at home. If your child needs to take medications at school, there are usually required forms your child’s doctor must sign before school starts.

5. Make Sure Your Child Gets Enough Sleep

Kids need more sleep than adults, in order to keep up with their rapid mental and physical development. A lack of sleep can lead to struggles with focus, attention and mood…all of which affect your child’s ability to perform well at school.

It’s easy to get out of the habit of bedtime schedules during the summer. A couple of weeks before school begins, start to transition your child back into the school year routine.

Watching TV or playing on a tablet at bedtime can make it difficult for kids to wind down and fall asleep, and can even affect sleep quality once they do. Instead, encourage screen-free activities before bedtime, like reading or low-key, quiet games.

6. Make Time for a Nutritious Breakfast

Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, it can help your child do better in school. Studies show that kids who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They are more alert during class, and have better concentration and more energy.

Choose breakfast options that are rich in whole grains, fiber and protein. These help kids feel full and provide sustained energy throughout the morning.

7. Teach and Encourage Regular Hand Washing

The return to school means a return to exposure to germs from close quarters and shared facilities.

The best way to help prevent catching or spreading germs is still good old-fashioned hand washing with soap and water. Get your child into the habit of washing his or her hands before eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing and sneezing. This should include washing the fronts and backs of the hands, and between the fingers.

8. When It Comes to Head Lice, Sharing Isn’t Caring

Nobody likes to think about head lice…in fact, you’re probably shuddering just reading about it! But the unfortunate reality is that head lice outbreaks are common in schools, particularly in the fall.

Stress to your child the importance of not sharing clothing, hats, combs, brushes and hair accessories—whether it’s at school or at a friend’s house.

With these tips, your child will be on the way to a healthy, happy and successful school year!