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July 2019

Prepare Your Kids for a Healthy School Year

Believe it or not, school is right around the corner. But in addition to buying school supplies and digging out backpacks, it’s important to focus on a few health-related “to-dos” as your kids head back to school. What should be on your family’s back-to-school health checklist? Make time for these important health activities during the back-to-school season.

Four children sitting at a lunch table at school

See the doc

Make sure a yearly checkup with the healthcare provider is on the calendar to monitor and address your child’s overall health and development. If your kid plans to participate in sports, you can likely get any required release forms signed at the same time. And don’t forget about dental health. It’s recommended that kids get a dental checkup every 6 months to help prevent cavities. 

Get vaccinated

At a well-child visit, your child’s healthcare provider should check that your child is up to date on all required childhood vaccines. If he or she has missed any, it’s important to play catch-up to prevent illness. This includes getting a yearly flu vaccine. School-aged children have some of the highest rates of flu. Getting the flu shot is the best way to help your young one keep clear of the illness. 

Plan power meals

Start the day with a healthy breakfast, which is proven to help kids concentrate, do better in school, and have more energy. And when packing lunches, aim for something nutritious and fun. Think healthy kid-friendly pizza made with whole-grain crust and loaded with veggies. 

Set a schedule

Getting enough sleep is vital to your child’s ability to focus and learn. Remove devices from bedrooms to promote healthy sleep habits. And set a consistent bedtime before the school year starts to make sure you’re in a routine before the first day. Younger kids should get about 10 to 12 hours a night while teens (ages 13 to 18) should get at least 8 to 10 hours.

Sweat your stress

School pressures and academic expectations can take a mental toll. Encourage your child to manage stress with exercise. Experts report that exercise can reduce tension, elevate mood, improve sleep, and boost self-esteem. Get your child involved in sports or even a neighborhood game of tag.


Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2018
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