It’s that time of year, again – that’s right, back to school time. The end of summer can be such a busy time of year, trying to squeeze in all the last of the fun while also preparing for the new school year. We decided to help simplify the process by creating a checklist of back-to-school health activities. Get your kids’ year off on the right foot by making sure they go back to school healthy & happy!
Get a Yearly Physical
Regular checkups for children, as for all of us, are helpful to establish a baseline for health and to identify any potential concerns. As a parent, you can meet with your child’s doctor to discuss any issues or medical concerns for the upcoming year. And of course, children planning to compete in sports for middle, junior, or high school will need a school sports physical in order to participate.
Keep Kids’ Vaccinations Updated
When our children are infants, keeping up with the immunization schedule is easy. But once there’s a lengthy gap between booster shots, you can forget – until you get a (usually not-so-nice) reminder from the school! If you have a child going into kindergarten, middle school, or even college, make sure they have all their vaccinations up to date. In Texas, here are the minimum immunizations requirements for schools:
K – 6th Grade:
DTap: 4-5 doses, with one dose received on or after the 4th birthday.
Polio: 3-4 doses, with one dose received on or after the 4th birthday.
MMR: 2 doses, with the first received on or after the 1st birthday.
Hep A: 2 doses, with the first received on or after the 1st birthday.
Hep B: 3 doses (2 doses meets the requirement if the student received Recombivax from ages 11-15).
Varicella: 2 doses, with the first received on or after the 1st birthday.
7th – 12th Grade:
MCV4: 1 dose received on or after the 11th birthday.
College or University:
MCV4: must show proof of meningococcal vaccination or booster within the 5-year period prior to enrolling or at least 10 days before the semester begins.
Provide Medical Updates & Authorizations
Keep your child’s school medical records up to date. Make sure the school has the correct emergency contact information for your child – including up-to-date phone numbers for people to call if the school can’t reach you. In addition, ensure the school knows if your child has any allergies or food restrictions, such as insects, latex, nuts, gluten, etc. And if your child will need to regularly take medication on campus, make sure you gather and fill out the proper authorization form(s) for the school prior to the first day. These will likely be different from district to district, and possibly even between campuses within a district. You may want to accompany your child on the first day to ensure the medication and authorization form(s) get turned in to the front office and the nurse has no questions.
Get a Yearly Eye Exam
Many schools perform onsite vision screenings at preset intervals throughout your child’s education. However, if your family has a history of vision problems, or your child already has corrective lenses, it’s a good idea to proactively schedule an eye exam prior to the start of the school year. The inability to see properly can cause a host of issues. Vision problems can cause learning delays from not being able to properly identify and form letters to not being able to read the board. In addition, eye strain can cause headaches, which make it hard for kids to concentrate. Some signs your child may need an eye exam include squinting, rubbing eyes, frequent headaches, holding materials close, or sitting too close to the tv or computer screen.
Discuss or Practice Drop Off & Pick Up Routes & Routines
If your child is young, your routine is changing, or they are starting at a new school, it’s a good idea to talk through – or even practice – your drop-off and pick-up routines. If your student will get picked up by the bus, make sure they know where their stop is, where to stand safely, and what time the bus will arrive. They should also know who, if anyone, will be waiting for them at the stop or at home when they get off the bus in the afternoon. If you are driving your student to and from school, make sure they know where they will get in and out of the car, and who is approved to pick them up in the afternoon. If your child will walk or bike to school, practice the route with them several times before the start of school to make sure they know the safest route and where and when it’s safe to cross the street.
Adjust Bed Time & Waking Time
If you don’t have to rush out the door every morning, it’s natural to let kids stay up a little later and sleep in. Once it’s time to get back into the regular routine, it can be painful the first few days to revert right back to the normal bedtime and waking time. Instead, ease back into your normal routine starting a week or two before school. Send kids to bed, and then wake them up 5-10 minutes earlier every day, until you are back to your normal schedule. It will allow everyone to adjust slowly, preventing crankiness, and make that first day back much smoother.
One final note: if you have a child that graduated from high school in 2021 and is headed to college – we have a $1000 scholarship that is open for entries until 8/15. There are no grade restrictions or major requirements – just graduation in 2021! Learn more and enter here.
We hope these tips help make you & your child’s transition this fall as easy as possible. Remember to keep your nearest Neighbors Emergency Center contact info in your phone, so you can call or come in if you need us. We’re open 24/7 and treat all adult & pediatric emergencies – including sports injuries. Good luck this year as you head back to school!