School is just around the corner. Use this checklist to make sure you and your child are ready for their first day of school!
- Schedule a well-child exam/physical. Your child will receive a preventive health exam and, if needed, immunizations and WIAA sports physicals. These services and more are available at Moundview’s Family Clinics located in Friendship and Westfield. Moundview recommends that children have a yearly physical.
- Get your child’s vision and/or hearing checked before school starts if due for an exam.
- Inform the school nurse if your child has any medication needs or health problems such as asthma and insect or food allergies. If your child is not able to focus in class, participate in activities or misses school because of allergies and asthma, their condition is not under control. They could benefit from seeing an allergist. Diagnostic testing and treatments are available from Jason Bellak, MD, FACP, board certified allergist at Moundview.
- A week or two before the first day of school, slowly adjust your child’s lax summer sleep schedule to a school night bedtime. Put your child to bed ten minutes earlier each night.
- Stick to a sleep schedule during the school year, even on weekends. Establish a specific bedtime and wake time to ensure your child has adequate sleep. Get an easy to use alarm clock for your child’s room and teach them how to use it.
- The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep ranges for children: 3-5 years old = 10-13 hours of sleep each night; 6-13 years = 9-11 hours; 14-17 years = 8-10 hours; young adults 18-25 years = 7-9 hours.
- Backpacks can cause pain if used improperly. Select a backpack that is not too heavy or too big for your child.
- Look for backpacks with two padded, wide straps, padded backings, lightweight material and waist belts. Avoid single shoulder strap bags. Make sure children use their backpacks correctly by using both shoulder straps to evenly distribute weight across their whole body.
- Moundview’s Physical Therapy Department recommends that children carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight in their backpacks. Parents should especially monitor young children and girls. They are at higher risk for injuries due to their lower weight/smaller body size compared to the amount of items they may carry in their backpacks.
- Stock up on fruit, whole grain bread, yogurt, whole grain cereals and low-fat deli meat for after school snacks and breakfast and lunch as needed.
- A low sugar, mixed fuel breakfast can help children concentrate and succeed in school. Whether eating breakfast at home or at school, encourage your child to choose whole grains, whole fruit and lean protein. Try whole grain, low sugar cereals (like oatmeal or Cheerios) topped with fruit and served with milk or yogurt. Other options include whole grain toast with peanut butter, a scrambled egg or slice of cheese and melon.
- Prepare some dinners ahead of time and freeze them so you can simply re-heat on busy weeknights.
Preparation & Safety
- Discuss your child’s feelings and concerns about starting school.
- Mark school events and conferences on a family calendar.
- Practice getting to school with your child. Review safety rules if walking or riding bike. If your child takes the bus, make sure their pick up/drop off location can be seen by adults and is preferably with a group of children.
- Develop a family emergency plan in case something happens on the way to or from school.
- Have your child memorize their home address and home/cell and work phone numbers.
- Arrange child care or after school activities. Make sure your child knows where to go after school each day.
- Studies have shown that children who exercise are more alert, study better and perform better on tests.
- If your child isn’t involved in sports, make time to exercise when you get home from work and school. This is a great opportunity to spend time together as a family. Go for a walk, take a bike ride or play a game such as tag.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children should be physically active 60 minutes or more each day and include muscle and bone strengthening activities three days a week. Exercise can be broken up into 15 minute spurts throughout the day.
Establish Ground Rules
- Set a specific bed-time and wake-time.
- Determine when and where your child will do homework.
- Set rules for watching TV, playing video games and using the computer for non-school projects.
We hope your child has a happy and healthy school year!