Plan Ahead For A Healthy School Year

Make Sure Children Are Up-to-Date on Immunizations, Get Enough Sleep

Whether kids like it or not, the start of school is just around the corner. Parents can help their children get their school year off to a strong start by taking several steps now. Planning ahead can also make the first day of school less stressful on parents, too.

If your child is starting kindergarten or planning to play in a high school sport, the time is now to schedule a physical. Students need a check-up before starting school for the first time while the WIAA requires all high school athletes to undergo a physical. Call now to set something up rather than waiting until the week before school starts – you are most likely to get in and find a time that works with your schedule.

The start of school is also a prime time to check up on your children’s immunizations: are they all up-to-date? If you are unsure, contact your healthcare provider’s office or go online to MyThedaCare to view your child’s account. If your children need any immunizations, schedule an appointment now to come in and get it done. For students heading off to college, there are also several recommended vaccinations, including ones for meningitis and whooping cough. Keeping your children’s immunizations up-to-date will not only keep them healthier, but also stop the spread of illness in the community.

Most students do not keep a school-friendly sleep schedule over the summer so slowly begin making changes or else those first few days of school will be very rough. Start moving up the kids’ bedtime five minutes at a time every few days until they are at their usual school year bedtime. The goal is to have children on their school year sleep schedule for several days before they need to get out the door on time for real. If children complain about the changes, talk about how they need enough sleep to perform their best at school.

If your children are starting a new school or are anxious at all about the upcoming year, do not be afraid to talk about it. Ask them about any fears and do your best to answer their questions. If possible, go to the school and walk around so the kids feel comfortable in the new building or see if there is a way to meet the teacher in advance. Taking away the “unknowns” can ease some of that first day of school anxiety.

One last piece of advice to help your children start school off on the right foot is making sure they eat a healthy, balanced breakfast everyday. When students’ brains are properly fueled – and they get enough sleep -- they perform better in the classroom.

With proper planning, your children will be ready for not only a successful first day of school, but for the entire school year.

Scott Schuldes is a certified family nurse practitioner at ThedaCare Physicians in Darboy and Hilbert. He can be reached at scott.schuldes@thedacare.org.