New semester advice from the UPMC pediatrician | Life
Getting kids ready to go back to school means more than just getting new school supplies and new clothes. Another important way to prepare is to re-commit to your child’s health care. It may have been a little easier to relax bedtime and meals during the summer, but now is your chance to restore and achieve your family’s health goals.
The new semester body is a great way to make sure your child is developing and growing well. These appointments also provide an opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with your doctor to investigate your physical or eating habits, family history, concerns, and whether a vaccination is necessary.
Regular dental and eye exams are also essential to your child’s overall health. Oral health and eyesight can affect school children more than you realize.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children with poor oral health often have poor grades and are often unable to attend school. With poor eyesight, children can suffer from eye strain, headaches, and diplopia just from reading the whiteboard or doing homework. Taking the time for dental and eye exams can stop these problems sooner.
Your child may have less free time each day, but it is still important that they have enough time to play while participating in physical activity. Being active not only helps them burn off the energy they built up that day, but also keeps them in shape. Play time is important because it helps a child’s brain development and stimulates creativity, relationship skills, and many other social and emotional habits.
You are the best role model for your child’s health. If you are physically active and eat healthy, you are contributing to your child’s knowledge base and the development of a healthy lifestyle.
Returning to school can have a negative impact on your child’s mental health. Anxiety is common and can be caused by new social situations that cut them off from what is comfortable. Children can also face the pressure of getting good grades and being successful in extracurricular activities.
Starting the routine before class starts helps make it easier for the child to return to class. Clean your electronics an hour before bed and encourage reading instead. Then make sure your child gets at least 8 hours of sleep. The shorter a child sleeps, the more likely they are to show signs of depression, anxiety or impulsive behavior.
Plan a visit to your child’s school or meet a new teacher. It can help your child navigate school life in the future. Concerns can arise during these exams, but should be seen as an opportunity to consider problem-solving skills that can help relieve anxiety.
Always check with your child and ask for additional help if needed. If your child is having academic difficulties, see a doctor as well as your teacher as they may have learning disabilities. Early diagnosis and intervention are essential for your child to be successful in school and reduce school anxiety.
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus infection)
Face-to-face classes are scheduled for this fall and may be of concern to you and your family. The best way to keep your child safe is to have all eligible members of your household immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine. These vaccines are approved for all people over 12 years old.
Children under 12 should be careful about wearing masks and social distancing if possible. It is also advisable to wear a mask of all ages for a comfortable stay even if you are vaccinated.
Develop good hand washing habits early on to prevent your child from getting sick and to stop the spread of bacteria. This not only helps stop the spread of COVID-19, but also helps fight flu and colds.