After the lazy days of summer come to an end, the return to school time can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking. Prepare for the upcoming school year to make sure your family is successful.
Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health pediatricians have shared their tips for a healthy, happy school year.
1.Take your child for an annual check-up. A little planning during the summer will pay off later when schedules become hectic. Many camps, schools, and sports teams require a physical. Sometimes they do not give the child much notice when one is due, and we all know that kids sometimes forget to tell us things until the last minute. Yearly check-ups with your pediatrician are generally covered by insurance with no out-of-pocket expense. Once the exam is over, your primary care provider can complete any necessary paperwork without another trip to the clinic.
Well-child appointments are an ideal time to discuss your child’s overall health. Growth, development, behavior, learning ability, puberty, and anxiety are just a few topics for discussion. Your pediatrician will also discuss any recommended vaccines. It’s a good idea to write your questions down so you don’t forget to ask them.
2. Plan and prep meals ahead of time. Getting kids ready for school in the mornings can be stressful, and busy families tend to make less healthy food choices. The best way to avoid grabbing last-minute unhealthy food is to plan and prep the night before. Choose whole wheat bread for sandwiches, lean proteins like turkey or tuna, and fresh fruit for something sweet.
3. Stay positive. Kids learn more from how we act as parents than from the words we say. That is why it’s important to stay positive, especially if your child is experiencing pressure. Show enthusiasm about school in front of your kids. Have fun when you’re buying school supplies. Have a great attitude and get excited yourself. Children feed off your good attitude.
4. Reduce stress by role-playing with your child. Acting out scenarios can reduce anxiety that children may feel in challenging situations. By remaining calm and demonstrating how to respond in courteous, constructive ways, you’re modeling healthy behaviors. Children will more likely understand the best way to act if it is demonstrated rather than just described in words.
5. Make sure they get enough sleep. Kids need lots of sleep to have the energy and focus they need at school. Children usually need more sleep than they get; the recommended amount of sleep for school age children is around 10 hours per night. Start putting younger kids to bed between 7 and 8 p.m., older kids between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. It’s also a good idea to turn off electronics, computers and televisions at least an hour before bedtime so it’s easier for them to wind down.
To find a pediatrician in Baton Rouge, visit ololchildrens.org/pediatrics.