By Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain
As the end of summer approaches, you are probably making a list of everything to buy your kids for the start of the school year. However, setting your children up for the first day can require more than new outfits, backpacks and supplies. To fully prepare your kids for the school year, ensure they are physically prepared to stay healthy throughout the year so they can focus all their energy on their education. There are three main ways you can help your children stay healthy during the school year!
Regular health exams and tests can help you live a longer, healthier life, and this is no exception for school-aged children. Most schools require your child to have a physical to confirm they are fit and healthy for the physical demand of sports, physical exercise classes and various interactions with other children at school. Before scheduling an appointment with your family’s healthcare provider, make sure you check your school’s website for a physical form your physician may need to fill out.
Additionally, many schools require you to submit your child’s immunization records before the start of the school year. The month of August has been named “National Immunization Awareness Month” to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. In observance of “NIAM,” the CDC offers many helpful guides on best practices when it comes to immunizations and how they can affect your child going into the first day of school. Contact your child’s school or family health care provider to get more details on what vaccines your children might need before school starts.
Another way to make sure your kids are healthy going into the school year starts with their diet. Packing a lunch full of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains can make a difference in your child’s education and alertness. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, students who typically earn higher grades are more likely to eat breakfast and lots of vegetables. If you are unable to pack a lunch, make sure to check your school’s weekly lunch menus and encourage your children to choose healthy options in the lunch line!
One of the most important ways to set your children up for success is to make sure they are happy and healthy. With the help of your child’s school and your family health care provider, preparing your children for the first day has never been easier! If you need more tips on keeping your kids healthy throughout the year, reach out to their physician to brainstorm ideas on encouraging healthy lifestyles.
Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain is a general family medicine practitioner at Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton. She thoroughly enjoys improving the health and lives of individuals ranging from young children to adulthood. For more information, call 972-394-8844, or visit texasmedicine.com.