Sunday, July 26Posted: Updated:
Dr. Art Mollen
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How to prepare your kids a month and two weeks out for school
School supplies are very important but so is our child's health. This was you need to know to start them off and give them the best place:
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Getting your child ready for school tips:
One month from the start of school:
Contact your pediatrician to make sure:
Your child has had a well check within the past year
Vaccines are current and meet school requirements
Schedule an appointment for sports physicals or other medical clearances that may be needed for participation in school activities.
Request an extra prescription for any medications your child must have during the school day and/or a letter from your pediatrician to the school nurse regarding any medications your child is permitted to take during school.
If your child wears glasses, contacts, hearing aids, etc., make sure what they have is current and in good condition. If not, a trip to the eye doctor or hearing specialist is warranted.
Make a "Sick-Day Game Plan" - Working parents also know the trials and tribulations of getting a call from the school nurse when they can't get away from the office. Before school begins, line up a trusted babysitter or group of parents that can pinch-hit for each other when children get sick. And make sure you know the school's policy. You may have to sign forms ahead of time listing people who have your permission to pick up your child.
Attend school orientations and parent/teacher meet-and-greets. These are great opportunities to know your child's key players (teachers, principal, school nurse) and get answers to any questions you have. Your participation in orientation sets a good example for your children about the importance of being prepared for school.
Two weeks from the start of school:
Begin to structure bed time to more-closely mirror your child's bedtime during the school year. Also begin waking kids up earlier and earlier each day as school approaches. Going to bed 15 minutes a day earlier and waking up 15 minutes earlier over the course of a week or two makes the adjustment to school much easier.
Begin the routine of eating breakfast soon after your child wakes up, just like they will do once school starts. If possible, offer meals at times that parallel school mealtimes. Younger children in particular need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks at approximately the same time as lunch/snack times at school.
If your child has any anxiety about the start of school, make a plan for how to minimize that anxiety:
If it's a new bus stop or route, walk with your child to the new stop, or drive the new route to school with them.
If a new dress code or uniform is required, start going through their closet, separating "school clothes" from "not-for-school clothes." That way, they'll know ahead of time what they can/cannot select on school mornings.
If your child has predictable emotional issues associated with classmates or school, like fear of being bullied, dealing with unfriendly cliques, anxiety about a particular subject, etc., develop a plan of action with your child. The action plan can be as simple as "if Rebecca starts making fun of your glasses, say you don't appreciate it, even if she thinks she's just teasing, and walk away." Role play situations help minimize your child's anxiety so they feel more prepared to face the issues they fear. Repetition reinforces the appropriate way to deal with the anxious situation
A week before school starts:
Finalize important school-day routines with your child to reduce any last-minute problems.
Are they going to have a packed lunch or school lunch each day? If bringing lunch, who packs it, and when?
Are they going to be allowed to carry any money in their backpack or wallet?
How are they expected to use/take care of personal electronics?
What is bedtime? For what time should they set their alarm?
Are they showering/bathing at night before bed, or in the morning?
What is expected after school? Are they allowed to go directly to a friend's house, or does homework come before any social activity?
If your child participates in activities before or after school, make sure your child knows what the routine will be, how they will get to the activity, etc.
Create a calendar for your child that shows their daily school and activities schedule. Include when they need to wake, what time the bus comes, their class schedule, lunchtime, music or sports lessons, expected homework time, etc. If your child feels organized and knows what the week or month entails, parents will be more organized. If your older children participate in making their own schedule, they'll be more likely to adhere to it.
A couple of days before school starts:
Clean out last year's backpack and limit contents of the old, or new, backpack to what's needed for this year. Children don't need to carry any extra weight, so minimizing unnecessary things is important.
It'll be hot! Make sure your child has sunblock and knows the importance of hydrating throughout the day. Make sure they have a reliable, leak-proof water bottle that fits in their school gear.
Make sure girls are prepared for the possibility of getting their period at school and have tampons or pads in their school gear.
Remind your child about the school dress code to avoid last-minute debates about baseball caps, tank tops or other argument-producing issues in the morning.
Once you have accomplished a thoughtful start to the new school year, your focus should shift to ways to ensure your children stay healthy and IN school.
Here are a couple of ways to keep immune systems at their best:
A healthy diet is a sure way to help kids fight disease. In addition to a good breakfast, help your child make good selections from the daily lunch menu, and limit after-school snacks to ones packed with nutrition, not empty calories. Fruit, veggies, nuts and milk offer better snacking value than chips, soda or cookies.
Ample sleep is also a great way for kids to stay healthy. Make sure your growing child has a minimum of eight hours of sleep each night.
Remind your child about frequent hand-washing, and make sure they have tissues to cover sneezes and coughs.
Also remind your children that sharing drinks or food, while kind, should not include sharing germs. Breaking a carrot in half is a better way to share than alternating bites with a friend!
As mentioned above, staying hydrated also is an important part of good health. Water is always preferred to sugary drinks or juices. And as far as sports drinks go, remember they also have a good amount of sugar, artificial sugar, and/or salt, so limit your child's consumption to after-sports practice or other heavy exercise.
If your child isn't feeling well, the best thing you can do for their health, as well as for the health of their classmates, is to keep them home. Inconvenient for working parents? Yes. But preferred over a mini classroom epidemic.
Dr. Jay Sordean - head injury segment
Head injuries have caused significant impact on many people's careers and lives, like those of Chris Borland, Christopher Reeves, Payton Manning, Muhammed Ali, and George Clooney. 50,000 Americans die from head injuries every year. One in 50 is living with paralysis.
Three things to avoid head injuries:
1. Use Helmets and Headgear habitually
2. "The James Bond" Don't drive like 007 and don't text and drive
3. "NRCT" get checked for meningeal compression
HEAD formula for Brain Preservation:
H - Helmets and headgear
E - Emotional changes may alert to serious concussion
A - Assessment of meninges is important after head injury
D - Dietary support of brain function
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