Post by Dr. Mary Jo Stine – Summer is almost over and the children will be back to school soon. What can you do to get your child’s school year off to a great start?
Immunizations are an excellent way to help keep your child healthy. Children entering kindergarten need to show proof of having received DTaP and MMRV boosters. These vaccines help protect against whooping cough, measles, and chickenpox. Likewise, children starting sixth grade need their meningococcal and Tdap vaccines. The HPV vaccine can also be started at this age; this vaccine protects against cervical cancer. It’s also a good idea to get a flu shot this fall. Influenza can be quite serious and keep a child home from school for a week or longer.
Adequate sleep is very important to school success. Start practicing the school schedule at least a week before school starts. Generally, this means getting to bed and getting up earlier! Most school children need nine hours of sleep every night. And plan on enough time in the mornings for your child to get a good breakfast. Children who eat breakfast get better grades.
Backpacks can get heavy with school books and cause back pain. Make sure your child’s backpack fits over fits over both shoulders so the weight is evenly distributed over his back. Throw in some hand sanitizer and Kleenexes to help ward off those school-time germs.
Most children ride the bus to school. Find out where and when the bus will be coming. If possible, greet the bus driver and meet the other children at the bus stop.
Many schools have a dress code. Make sure your child’s clothes conform to the dress code and that they are comfortable and clean. Contact the school’s social worker if you need assistance.
Your child’s future depends on a successful school experience. Is your child is ready for school? Are his immunizations up-to-date? Does he have a good sleep schedule? Are his clothes appropriate? If your child complains about school or isn’t doing well, talk with his teacher(s) early in the school year. Yes, school is for learning but it should also be fun and safe!