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The end of August is upon us, and the summer is coming to a close. This can only mean one thing: no more late nights for children and time to wake up early and have a productive school day! It’s also another great reminder to have check-ups and immunizations up-to-date for your children.
Regular Sleep Schedule
Typically in the summer children will tend to stay up much later than they had in the school year. You will have to wean your child off of this type of schedule, because they will need all of their energy to get through the long school days ahead.
The best place to begin with this transition is to start early.
Give your child a week or two to transition back to waking up early instead of sleeping in. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that younger children (age 6-13) need around 9-11 hours of sleep, while children from the ages 14 to 17 will need around 8-10 hours. So, start by having them go to bed an hour earlier every night, and waking up earlier every morning.
Since most school children will need to get to bed around 7-9 p.m., you want to start winding them down around 6 p.m. Letting them play or be out too late will interfere with their sleep, and this can make them restless and tired for the next day.
Lots of children also have access to cellphones or tablets, you will want to store these away. The light from a device will keep them up, unaware of the hours going by, and they will spend most of the night not sleeping.
Your child’s sleep schedule is important. It reflects how their day with go and how alert they will be
Immunizations & Check-Ups
Has your child received all of the necessary immunizations? If you are unsure of which vaccinations that your child will need, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics site to view a schedule for children from 0-18. You can also discuss with your physician, child’s school or health department to find out which immunizations are required.
For children who play sports, you will most likely need a sports physical. These only last up to a year and are mandatory, so you should have one done before they begin school.
The new start to a school year is also a good time to have a routine check-up for your child. It also helps keep a medical history for your child, detailing about their development and progress over time.
Your physician or doctor will easily have a record of your child’s medical history on hand and be able to address any concerns you may have. Check-ups also allow you to discuss any development, behavior, sleep or eating concerns you may have. If you ever need to find a new physician, this will also be an invaluable source to them and for your child.
Return to Healthy Foods
During the summer it can be hard for children to avoid junk food and in general, unhealthy food. It’s time to get back to the schedule of eating three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children who eat breakfast are more alert during the day, and not to mention all the major health benefits of certain foods that help fight off infections.
There is also the concern of childhood obesity that will continue to exist. The United States Department of Agriculture provides ideas for kid-friendly meals. Most schools will also discuss the importance of nutrition with students, so they are aware of what they are eating during the day.
It is also good to see what options your child’s school lunches have to offer, as well as letting the school know of any food allergies your child has.
When the school year comes around, it can involve a lot of changes. Some students will stay in the same school, while others will continue on to a new school and new environment. This can cause stress and anxiety for some students who are uncomfortable with new surroundings.
At times it may feel like you don’t know how to help your child, but there are ways to help them cope with stress. You can listen to your child and let them know you hear what they are saying. You can suggest ways to deal with stress or simply you can be there for them. Remember to be patient with your child, because stress doesn’t dissolve overnight, it can be brought on from many different events.
Sometimes children may have too much on their plate. One of the biggest causes for stress can be over-scheduling. After a long day at school, most children will want to relax. You will need to make sure that your child has some downtime to rejuvenate and not be constantly wondering what’s next.
We can also revisit some topics we have already discussed, such as making sure that your child gets enough time for sleep. Having sleepless nights can lead to a stressful day.
Recap of Health Tips for the New School Year
Overall, the health of your child is important. There are many factors that go into helping them be prepared when school comes around.
Here is a list of what we have covered already:
- Have your child get back to a regular sleep schedule
- Have any immunizations done for the new school year
- Do a routine and yearly check-up for your child, address any concerns you may have
- Prepare your child’s lunch with their health in mind
- Listen to your child, help them when they become stressed
To have your child be vaccinated or have a routine check-up, come to one of our clinics located in Bethel, New Milford, and North Haven. We pride ourselves on quality customer care and you will know that you are in good hands with our professional physicians.