Safety

Back To School Tips

August 10, 2022

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Summer vacations are coming to an end, and it's time for kids to head back to school.

Dr. Malaika Little, pediatric infectious disease specialist, inpatient hospitalist medical director for Randall Children's Hospital

A school is not only a place of learning for children, but also a place for socializing and enjoyment. So, while the anticipation of returning to school after summer break may be a joyful experience for some, it can be a time of uncertainty for others.

For many children, going back to school after summer vacation can be a time of anxiety and nervousness as children adjust to new routines and a new schedule. The experts at Randall Children's Hospital have tips for parents and caregivers to ensure the transition to a new school year is a positive experience for the whole family.

Young child smiling
1.
Well child and primary care visits

Don't neglect your child's health maintenance. Well-child visits and ensuring your child gets an annual physical before starting school is important.

Taking your child to their annual wellness visit allows you to discuss any issues related to your child's health and development, school issues, and any learning or attention problems that occurred in the previous school year.

If your child is playing sports, this is a good opportunity to review family history, previous symptoms, or injuries. If your family is starting in a new school this year, ensure you understand the new school's health requirements and bring this information to your pediatrician for review.






3.
Importance of social interactions & friendships

Help your children get reacquainted with friends you may have missed over the summer. Setting up play dates at the park or lunch dates before school starts may help your child feel more at ease and look forward to seeing friends at school. Balancing your child's fun in-person activities with downtime is important. Being careful not to over-schedule will ensure your child is rested and ready to start the school year.


2.
Vaccinations

It is important to ensure your child is up-to-date on their vaccinations. Parents must remember to stay on track (or get caught up) with their child's immunization schedule.

COVID-19 vaccinations: Fully vaccinated kids are at much lower risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority and the Washington Department of Health now recommend vaccination for children five years and older and young children six months and older. Fully vaccinated kids don't have to spend more time away from learning, friendships, sports, and other important activities for their physical and mental health.

Other key immunizations: Besides COVID, there are other viruses that we think about from an infectious disease perspective, such as flu and measles. Measles is a highly transmittable infectious disease. We want parents and families to understand the dangers associated with getting behind on their child's immunization schedule. Considerable risks are associated with trading one infectious disease for another, especially when vaccination can prevent measles.

4.
Sleep schedule

Establishing healthy sleep hygiene is a great way to get your child ready for the school year. With the added social anxiety some children may face after the summer break, it's important to remember to talk to your kids about regular bedtimes. Try to get your child on their school sleep schedule early before class begins, so the transition once school starts is smooth.


5.
Dental check-ups
Is your child on track with their dental check-ups? Make sure you make an appointment for your regular dental check-ups.
6.
Nutrition
Eat a healthy breakfast. Children are more alert and do better in school if they eat a good breakfast every day.

 

COVID-19 is going to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Keeping open communication with your school and your child about your plan if/when there's an illness in your household will lessen unnecessary stress. Back to school brings runny noses and the increased circulation of viruses, so having a sick plan for your family will make balancing responsibilities easier for you and your child.

Your school and your primary care doctor are excellent resources for any questions you may have related to your child's physical and mental health.


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