It’s that time of year again…back to school! Some parents and caregivers may have a little anxiety about the new year, so here are some tips to ensure that your child has a safe and successful start to the school year:
Prepare the Paperwork: Although often times anxiety provoking, school physicals are an essential component to starting the school year off right. The physical includes a full assessment of the child’s needs that the school should be informed of from vision and hearing screenings, medication lists, food allergies, and physical health. These all can affect your child’s school performance. Make sure all immunizations are up to date and complete any necessary physical exams for extracurricular activities. There may also be new state requirements for vaccines that parents should be aware of.
Banish the Bulky Backpacks: Improper backpacks remain a source of chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain for many children once school is back in session. You should be looking for the backpacks with straps that can be worn on both shoulders, are heavily padded and are the appropriate length for the height of your child. Additionally, the backpack should never be more than 10% of your child’s body weight. If you have an 80 pound child, the backpack should not weigh more than 8 pounds. Yes, weigh the backpacks!
Transportation Talk: Whether your child is walking, biking to school or riding the school bus, there are some critical safety tips that you should share. Street crossing safety, stranger danger, helmet safety, and being careful to follow all rules while riding, entering and exiting the bus are important talking points.
Bye Bye Bully: Bullying is so far reaching in this day and age that it not only includes “playground” bullying, but also cyberbullying. Best estimates are that up to 1 in every 4 teens is the victim of bullying, but up to 6 out of every 10 teens report that they witness bullying at least once every day. Let’s arm our children with the knowledge that they can come to a trusted adult with any bullying concerns as either a victim or a bystander and support them at home, school, or in the community.
Necessary Nutrition: The truth is if we offer healthy, nutritionally packed, fresh foods daily then our kids will eat them. As a community, we can adopt healthy habits and make nutritionally sound choices as it relates to our daily meals and revolutionize the way our children are eating. If your children are eating at school, demand healthy options, and for the vending machines to be stocked with appropriate snack foods. If you are packing your child’s lunch daily use this as an opportunity to create those healthy habits that last a lifetime.