As kids head back to school, getting them properly prepared can set them up for a successful start. Sanford Health experts offer advice to make the transition from summer to school easier and healthier.
Before going back to school
Schedule a well-child visit
This exam gives doctors, parents and the child the opportunity to talk about nutrition, behaviors, immunizations and other age-appropriate topics.
Immunizations help prevent serious illnesses and will help keep your children and other children safe. Sanford Children’s Pediatrician Stephanie Hanson, M.D., recommends parents talk with their provider about what vaccinations are needed at every age. Additionally, she encourages parents to review vaccine requirements for grades K–12 in the state your child attends school.
Catch some zzz’s
“Since it might take time for your child to get back into the school routine, starting a few weeks before school starts, have them go to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier every four to five days until they are on their school routine,” says Sanford Health pediatric sleep specialist Arveity Setty, M.D. “Waking them up earlier is also helpful in this process.”
He also recommends developing a good bedtime routine that might include taking a warm bath, picking out clothes for the next day and reading a book.
Do some sole searching
If your child’s shoes have seen better days, upgrading to a new pair is important. Sanford Health Equip pedorthist Maggie Jobgen says to watch for wear and tear on the sole of the shoe to indicate it might be time for a new pair.
After starting school
Start with a healthy breakfast
Sanford dietitian Casey Bjoralt encourages families to plan for busy school mornings and prep food in advance. Pre-made breakfasts like egg muffins or overnight oats are simple and healthy options. Bjoralt visited North Dakota Today to share the benefits of healthy ingredients like oatmeal, nuts, fruits, vegetables and spices to help kids stay full until lunchtime.
Streets get busier when kids head back to class, and according to Safe Kids Worldwide, unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth-leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Sanford Children’s community life educator Greta Miller joined to discuss pedestrian safety for walkers and drivers.
Pedestrians should look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
“We want to remind kids to be crossing where cars are actually anticipating them to cross at –- at those crosswalks,” Greta Miller shared with North Dakota Today. “We don’t want them darting out between parked cars. Vehicles are not expecting kids to pop out there.”
Miller also encourages kids to not walk while distracted. Avoid distractions such as phones, headphones and digital devices. “Pop those ear buds out. Pay attention to what you’re doing, especially when crossing the street.”
Wash your hands
Hanson stresses the importance of hand washing. She says kids should wash their hands frequently throughout the day to reduce the spread of germs, particularly before and after lunch, after using the restroom, after recess and after returning home from school.