Taking care of your child’s health appointments can get tricky during the school year.
With all their classes, after-school activities, and your work schedule, things can easily fall by the wayside. But chances are, your kids are due for a check-up before they head back to school this fall.
The end of summer is a great time to reset and reassess your family’s health. Planning dental visits, eye exams, and check-ups with their primary physician are great ways to get the ball rolling.
As the country begins transitioning back to in-person learning, it’s also essential to prepare for vaccinations — including the new COVID-19 vaccines on the market.
Here’s our guide to all the back-to-school health tips to keep you and your family healthy and ready to hit the ground running this fall.
Get Up to Date on Eye Exams
When the school year gets hectic, it can be hard to schedule impromptu visits to the eye doctor.
The end of summer is a great opportunity to check up on your tween or teen’s eyes. Changes in your child’s vision are common as they age, and their vision might change as they hit puberty.
Kids age 15-18 also get 7.5 hours of screen time a day (or more with virtual learning). All that screen time can have an impact on their vision. And students who squint to see the board or experience dizziness while reading or looking at screens can develop worse eye issues down the line if they are not addressed promptly.
Just like dental health, preventative care is best when it comes to your child’s eyesight.
Take your child to an eye doctor or ophthalmologist (eye specialist) starting when they hit Elementary school, and then at least once a year to test their vision and address any potential sight issues moving forward.
Plus, it’s a great opportunity to pick out a cool pair of glasses for the schoolyear should they need them!
Book Your Dental Check-Ups
Don’t wait for something to go wrong to get your child in to see their dentist! One of the best health tips for school students is to stay on top of their oral hygiene.
Brushing and flossing in the morning and at night before bed is a great start, but you will need to make a habit of regular dental visits for your kids as well.
When you prioritize preventative care, you’ll end up saving more money down the line. This means catching issues before they need major intervention and cost you a fortune.
Vaccines for Teens
While vaccines have been a popular topic thanks to COVID-19, getting school shots has always been essential for students going back to the classroom.
School vaccinations for younger children include shots for Chickenpox, Measles, and the like. Teens, however, require a slightly different regimen of back-to-school shots.
One of the most essential vaccines for teens is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. This will protect them against cervical and other cancers in their adult lives.
The information on the COVID-19 vaccine is ever-evolving, but we suggest you following all state guidelines and monitoring their health and symptoms closely as they return to school.
Teenage Nutrition and Body Image
Teenagers face a new challenge in middle and high school — body image.
As their bodies change drastically, your teen may feel uncomfortable or anxious about how they look. Social pressure to look a certain way can make this even harder.
While it’s important to provide healthy foods for your child’s school lunches to make sure they’re eating healthy, it’s just as essential to teach them how to build a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.
Teenagers are especially vulnerable to eating disorders. It’s essential to have an open conversation with them about body image and how to take care of themselves as they grow and change.
Back-to-School Doctor Appointments
As your teens progress through puberty, they might need to start seeing doctors for more specific health matters.
Girls can start seeing a gynecologist around 13 after they have their first period. This allows them to build trust with their doctor and gives them a chance to better understand their bodies.
Dermatologists are also great doctor appointments to set up, as kids typically deal with acne and skin problems starting around age 10.
Your child’s doctor can also help encourage them to stay physically active. This can help your kids fight depression, behavioral issues, and weight gain which can lead to being bullied by their peers.
As your child begins meeting more regularly with their doctors, they can take on new accountability for their health and wellness.
Bedtime Schedules for Back-to-School
While coordinating sleep schedules sounds like more of a priority for younger children, your teens and tweens need the most sleep of all.
Recent studies have found that nearly 69% of high school students get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
Teens require more quality sleep as their brains develop during puberty. A full night’s rest can help maintain academic focus, creative thinking, and even improve memory.
Getting enough sleep can also play a big role in the emotional and mental health of your teens. It’s not surprising that lack of sleep is also linked to depression, anxiety, and riskier behavior like texting and driving.
When your kids get back to school, think about implementing any of these healthy sleep habits:
- No phone/screen time 1-2 hours before bed
- Earlier bedtimes to account for class start times
- Make sure homework isn’t put off until late at night
- Avoid caffeine and sugar drinks in the afternoon and evening
- Add a fan or comfy pillows to make their room relaxing
It’s not always easy to get your teen to get rest, especially if they are active or juggling many activities. But we know for sure that rest is essential for the body and brain — so sleep should be a priority no matter what!
Take a Trip to the Orthodontist
If your child has braces or aligners, it’s important to check the condition of their teeth as they move and shift into better alignment.
As teens are growing quite a bit during puberty, they have a unique set of needs when it comes to oral health.
This also tends to be a pivotal time of their lives to develop self-esteem and confidence among their peers at school. You can help them step into their confidence with a healthy and bright smile!
Is Your Teen Ready for Back-to-School?
Things will no doubt look different this school year. But one thing that will never change is your commitment to keeping your child healthy and happy.
Make sure they put their best foot forward this year by adding healthy habits to their daily routines and encouraging open conversations about their growing bodies.
With a little creativity and time, you might just find them taking charge of their own health this year!