Back to school health tips for parents


Summer’s come and gone, and the kids will be putting on their backpacks and shuffling off to class. From new clothes to school supplies, there’s so many things on every parent’s back-to-school checklist.

“As you get your kids prepared for the upcoming school year, don’t forget the most important thing on the list – their health”, said Dr. Lenore Encinas, District Medical Group physician at Valleywise Health. “Visiting the doctor and practicing healthy habits early in life will help set your kids up for a lifetime of success in the classroom and beyond.”

Dr. Lenore Encinas, District Medical Group physician at Valleywise Health

Consider these six back to school health tips when getting ready for the upcoming school year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

1. Ease back in to the school year routine

It’s easy to let your kids stay up late during the summer when there’s no class the next day. At least a week before the first day of school, start enforcing those earlier bedtimes and power off the devices at night. Pediatricians recommend children 6 to 12 get 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night, and teens get 8 to 10 hours a night.

2. Visit the doctor

Summer is the perfect time to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician for their annual wellness exam, and to make sure their immunizations are up to date. If your student plays a sport, they’ll also likely need to get a sports physical. Make an appointment with your Valleywise Health provider by calling 602-344-2777.

3. Check their eyes

Making sure your child can see the writing on the board at the front of the class is crucial to their success. A lot of kids don’t know how to explain if their vision if blurry, so visit your optometrist to see if your student needs glasses before school starts.

4. Find the perfect backpack

Books can get heavy, which can injure your child’s neck, shoulders and back over time if they don’t have the right accessories. If the school allows them, rolling backpacks can be a great solution. Otherwise, make sure your child’s backpack fits properly, with shoulder straps that can be loosened or tightened and include shoulder padding. Remind them to use both shoulder straps, not just one slung over one arm.

5. Practice good hygiene

School is a magical place, but no matter how well it’s cleaned, it’s still crawling with germs. Encourage kids to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water throughout the day. It’s the best way to avoid catching and spreading illnesses, meaning fewer sick days for you and your kid.

6. Let food be their medicine

Sending your kids off to school with a healthy breakfast, snacks and lunch will help them stay more alert in class and do better overall. Provide healthy meal options for your kids every day, to start good eating habits early in life.

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