Back to School Wellness

Tips for Your Child Back in school for kids means establishing a regular routine, doing homework, playing sports—and yes, sometimes falling ill. Here are some proactive steps parents can take to ensure their kids smoothly transition back to school and remain healthy.

Immunization: Visit your family GP at least a month before school starts to ensure there is no allergy reaction to the vaccines. Check with the school nurse on what vaccines are required. The common ones are hepatitis, polio, and chicken pox.

Eye tests: 1 in 20 children can’t see out of one of their eyes. Vision testing by your pediatrician is a good way to determine if your child has an eye problem and needs to be referred to a specialist.

Accurate information: Always make sure your child’s emergency telephone numbers list is up to date. The numbers that should be listed include the mother’s, father’s, immediate relative’s and whoever else the parents have designated. It is a good idea to list the child’s physician and dentist. Give the school nurse all details of the medication your child is taking and make sure any health problems are made known to the school.

Adequate sleep: A week before school is scheduled to start, get your child to begin a bedtime and wake up schedule that mirrors their impending routine. This is important to not only institute a system, but also to ensure youngsters get the recommended hours of sleep. For preschool children the recommended amount of sleep is 16-18 hours a day and from primary school onwards between 10 to 12 hours.

Backpack safety: A heavy backpack that puts too much pressure on a child’s shoulders is a big no-no as it may hamper proper growth. Instead choose a backpack with padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Pack light and make sure to spread the weight between the different compartments.

Healthy Lunches: Use the summer months to develop a healthy menu for your child. School canteens usually stock unhealthy options like crisps and soft drinks – remember one 12 ounce can of soft drink contains approximate 10 teaspoons of sugar and drinking just one can increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60 percent. Create healthy lunches including lots of fruits, nuts and low fat dairy products.

(Credit: Dr. Telisha Fe Jagannatham, Specialist – Pediatrics, Medeor 24×7 International Hospital)