Notebooks? Check! Backpack? Check! As you and your family prepare to head back to school, we’ve put together a helpful checklist to ensure your child has a safe and healthy school year.
Check in with your children’s pediatrician before school starts. Make sure your children are up to date on their immunizations and if they are playing sports, ask if a special checkup is needed. You should also ask the doctor about ways to protect your children from injuries, such as concussions, which can be a serious problem with some sports.1
While schools perform hearing tests in some grades, you should also ask the doctor about hearing and vision tests.2 Additionally, it is a good idea to schedule dental appointments prior to school starting.
Organize medical history records
Provide copies of your children’s medical history to their school or daycare provider. These records should include your children’s:
- Prescription medications
- Medical problems such as asthma or allergies
- Previous surgeries
- Emergency contacts 1
Communicate the transportation plan
Whether you bring your children to and from school every day or they ride their bikes or walk, be sure that they are aware of how they will be getting to and from school. Discuss safety measures with your children so they are comfortable and feel safe with the plan.
- If you or another adult picks up your child, agree on a time and place for pickups. Explain what to do if the driver is running late.
- If your child walks or bikes, do a dry run and explain any potential traffic hazards.
- If your child takes the bus, find a safe route and agree on a visible pickup and drop-off spot. Ideally, this is a place where other kids are around and adults can clearly see them.
- If your teens drive to school, discuss safe driving with them — including the dangers of texting while driving.
Sometimes things go awry. Make a plan so your children know what to do in case of an emergency or last-minute change to their regular routine, and communicate that plan to their school so everyone is on the same page.1
Remember the big picture
Having a successful school year is about more than studying and grades, and the foundation for a happy and healthy year starts at home.
- Be consistent about bedtime and wake-up times. Growing kids need at least 8 hours of sleep — and teens need even more.2
- Make homework a habit by having clear routines. But don’t overlook free time and friend time.
- Explain ways to prevent infection such as by regularly washing hands and by not sharing hats or other clothing. That’s one way lice get around!
- Keep lines of communication open. Listen for signs of bullying or other concerns. Many parents find that car rides are a great time to have nonthreatening conversations with their kids. Contact the school if a problem like bullying does arise.3,4
Creating healthy routines at home will not only help your child transition from the fun and freedom of summer to the structure of school days; it will also help them perform better in the classroom.
Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.
- EmergencyCareForYou: Homework for Parents—Your Child’s Back-to-School Health Checklist. Available at: http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/Health-Tips/Child-Emergencies/Homework-for-Parents-%E2%80%94-Your-Child-s-Back-To-School-Health-Checklist/ Accessed 7/3/16.
- WebMD: Back-to-School Health Checklist. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/back-to-school-health-checklist Accessed 7/3/16.
- National Association of School Nurses: Back to School Family Checklist. Available at: https://www.nasn.org/portals/0/resources/BacktoSchoolChecklistFamily_2015.pdf Accessed 7/3/16.
- CDC: Back to School Health and Safety Checklist. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2013/docs/back-to-school/Back-to-School-Checklist.pdf Accessed 7/3/16.
Posted on Fri, July 29, 2016
by Alex McManus