Whether your kids are dreading or looking forward to a new school year, you’ll need to make sure they’re ready.
There are some things all parents should do to ensure the school year gets off to a healthy start. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Dental Association:
SEE YOUR PEDIATRICIAN
If you haven’t already booked an appointment this fall, get a checkup scheduled with your child’s pediatrician. Ask about immunizations or boosters, including for COVID. Kids also may need a sports-specific exam before they begin an athletics program.
SCHEDULE A DENTAL CHECKUP
If your child is behind on cleanings or checkups, schedule one now. If your child participates in sports, ask about custom-fit mouthguards. Mouthguards are especially important for kids who wear braces.
GET A VISION SCREENING
School-age kids should have their eyes checked in first grade and annually thereafter. Ask your child’s eye doctor about protective eyewear for sports in which there’s a risk for eye injury, such as baseball and basketball. Nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in the ER every year, yet 90 percent of serious eye injuries could be prevented by wearing protective eyewear.
BRUSH UP ON SCHOOL BUS SAFETY
If your child rides the bus, remind him or her to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it. Tell them to look both ways before crossing the street in case traffic doesn’t stop and to stay seated while the bus is in motion. Seat belts are a must if your child’s bus is equipped with them.
MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
Grade schoolers need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night, while teens need about 8 to 10 hours. If your family isn’t already into a groove, work on making sure everyone is on the appropriate bedtime and wakeup schedule. And don’t let kids sleep in too late on weekends because that may throw them off for Sunday night bedtimes. This will make Monday mornings a whole lot easier to handle.