A Pediatrician’s Top Tips for Back-to-School Health

Posted by Nichole Baxter on 9/28/17 12:55 PM

Whether you are prepping for your child’s very first day, or you’ve been through it before, the transition from summer vacation back to school can be tough! Dr. Komal Afzal, DO, a pediatrician at Dignity Health Medical Group – Dominican, offers the following tips to help families prepare for a healthy school year. 

Pediatrician Komal Afzal, DO
  1. Make sure your child has all the required vaccinations. In the state of California, schoolchildren are required to receive certain immunizations and provide proof to the school district. Vaccinations stimulate the body’s immune system and protect your child from dangerous infections and diseases. Double check with your pediatrician to make sure your child is up-to-date. 
  1. Maintain a healthy diet through the transition.
    When children go back to school, it can shake up a family’s eating routine. Don’t let early wake-up times keep your family from enjoying a balanced breakfast. In fact, kids will be more alert for class if they have a healthy meal in the morning. If you have picky eaters in your family, try to set an example by eating a nutritious diet and continually trying new things. Packing your child a healthy lunch is the best way to ensure they’re getting nutrient-rich foods. Remember, one soda can has an average of 10+ teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Packing healthier options can help lower your child’s risk for obesity. 
  1. Establish reasonable bedtimes.
    As summer comes to an end, you’ll want to start getting your kids into a reasonable bedtime routine for school. You can’t expect your child to change their sleep schedule overnight. So if it’s possible, start the transition ahead of school time. Healthy sleep habits will help your child pay attention during class and keep a positive attitude. If your child is struggling with earlier bedtimes, you can try: adjusting their diet, reducing their digital device time before bed, encouraging quiet time activities before bed and more. 
  1. Avoid and prevent the spread of new germs. 
    Proper hand hygiene is very important for kids, as schools and playgrounds can host millions of germs. Your child should wash his or her hands before eating, after using the restroom, after sneezing or coughing and as soon as they get home. On average, kids get six to 10 colds each year! Hand washing is the best defense against new sicknesses your child will be exposed to when school starts. 

While you are thinking about preparing your child for the school season, don’t forget to schedule yearly physical exams for your whole family. During an annual exam, doctors screen for potential hidden health problems and are available to answer your questions. Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican operates 18 clinics in Santa Cruz County, with specialties including pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, oncology, hematology, gastroenterology, OB/GYN, urology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, urgent care and more.Tips for back-to-school health

Topics: DHMG - Dominican, Family Medicine, Health & Wellness, Pediatrics