Don’t let the scramble for new book bags distract you. Back-to-school planning should also include your child’s health and hygiene.
Dr. Michelle Allen, a pediatrician at Grady’s Camp Creek Comprehensive Care Center, recommends that children get an annual checkup or visit with their doctor to make sure immunizations are up-to-date and all developmental and health screenings are done.
“Use back-to-school preparations as a way to make sure your child is protected,” Allen said. “Plus, these appointments are a good way to find out what kinds of bugs are going around each year.”
She also suggests that parents teach children about the basics of a healthy lifestyle and make sure they adopt healthy behaviors. Allen suggests:
- Make sure your child starts each day with a nutritious breakfast. It improves concentration and energy while boosting their immune system.
- Get your child into healthy sleep habits. Inadequate sleep hurts performance and creates stress. If your child stays up later during the summer, consider shifting their bedtime 15 to 30 minutes earlier each day a week before school starts to avoid transitioning during the first week of class.
- Teach good hand hygiene by reminding children to wash their hands before eating and after using school bathrooms.
- Talk to your child about going back to school and any jitters, anxiety or stress associated with that. Create positive thoughts and anticipation about school.
“Going back to school is a huge event in the average child’s life,” she said. “Parents should focus on all the things that will make this a good school year, and not just the shopping. A little attention to things that will keep your child healthy will help to make the school year happy and successful.
Dr. Allen is a board certified pediatrician at Grady’s Camp Creek Center, who is determined to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of children. To make an appointment with Dr. Allen, call (404) 489-4444.
Camp Creek Comprehensive Care Center
3896 Princeton Lakes Way
Atlanta, GA 30331