Even though many Staten Islanders are still in summer vacation mode, it’s never too early to start thinking about the new school year. Now is a great time for parents to think about what they need to do to ensure the health and well-being of their children for the upcoming school year. Parental involvement has been found to be a protective factor for children. It helps reduce risky behavior and has shown to decrease the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. It has also been shown to decrease stress in children. Here are some recommendations for parents to improve the health and wellness of your children:
- Schedule yearly well visit with the pediatrician at the beginning of each school year. Talk to your doctor to ensure your children get all the necessary vaccinations.
- If a child has a medical problem, it is important to get the child’s doctor to fill the medication administration form (MAF) for the school.
- Talk to the school nurse about any medical conditions your child has and send in any medications that your child is on.
- Mild anxiety during the first days of school is normal. Listening closely to your children may help you to be alerted of any issues early on in the year.
- It is critical for children to get a good night sleep. Parents can help transition children back to regular bed time hours towards the end of the summer. Children and elementary in middle school level should get 10-11 hours of sleep per night, with high school children getting 8-9 hours of sleep. Even minor changes in sleep can impair school kids learning, memory, attention, and concentration.
- If breakfast is not available in your children’s school, it is important to ensure they eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast before school.
- Teaching children the basics of hygiene is crucial to reducing the spread of germs. Make sure that kids know proper handwashing techniques as well as the importance of coughing or sneezing into one’s sleeves. Also, let kids know that they shouldn’t share water bottles with friends, as this helps germs spread quickly.