5 Ways to Start School in Good Health

August 17, 2020

This year has been anything but normal. And that makes it more important than ever to give your child the best shot at a healthy school year. Get started with the essentials on our back-to-school health care list.

Schedule Your Child’s Physical – and 4 Other Healthy Back-to-School Tips

1. Annual physical exam. A yearly visit gives your child’s doctor a chance to assess and record your child’s developmental, emotional and social health. It’s an important touch point for sharing information about everything from growth to sleep keeping vaccinations current.

We understand some parents have been concerned about getting health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re taking your concerns seriously, and we want you to know it’s safe to visit – and essential for your child’s long-term health. If you haven’t already established a regular time for an annual exam, call for an appointment today.

2. Vaccinations. With limited exceptions, state law dictates children who attend all public and most private schools provide evidence of receiving all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Legality aside, keeping your child’s immunizations up to date is an important safeguard against potentially dangerous diseases, from chicken pox to meningitis.

“Protecting our youngest patients is critical to prevent an outbreak of measles or Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), which is completely preventable by sticking to long-standing vaccination protocol,” says Martin’s Point Health Care pediatrician Alyssa Goodwin, M.D.

Fall is also time for influenza vaccines for all ages. Flu vaccine can be administered at your doctor’s office, and many schools offer free clinics.

For a complete picture of your child’s needs, refer to these recommendations from the CDC for 0 to 6 years and 7 to 18 years.

3. Sports physicals.
Even if it’s not clear when school sports will resume at your school, fall is still the right time to get your child ready to play with a physical and sign-off on school forms you may need to complete.

4. Medications. If you’re child needs medication during the school day, preparing now will make the start of school even smoother.

  • Check with your school for requirements, which will likely include written consent and authorization from your doctor.
  • Ask your pediatrician to complete the forms you need.
  • Ask your pharmacist to divide medication into two bottles so you can send one to school with your child.

5. Sleep.
“Back to school is a great time to reboot sleep routines,” says Alyssa Goodwin, M.D., a pediatrician at the Martin’s Point Health Care Center in Brunswick at Baribeau Drive. “Kids and teens need a good night’s sleep to tackle their busy days. Plus, sleep is important for focus, behavior and school performance.”

No matter how old your child is, staying well rested comes down to routine:

  • Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time – every day.
  • Establish pre-sleep rituals that prepare kids to go to bed and fall asleep.
  • Manage the transition time. At least 60 minutes before bedtime, turn off and put away all electronic devices. Help younger children transition to quieter, less stimulating activities, like drawing, doing a puzzle, or yoga.

If you have questions on any of these points, give your child’s doctor a call. Otherwise, follow the checklist below to make your way through these tasks, and be confident you’ve given your student a healthy send off.

Healthy Back-to-School Checklist

_ Annual exam

_ Required vaccinations

_ School medication plan and forms

_ Sports participation release form

_ Reboot sleep routine