If you’re the proud parent of a grade school scholar, you know that the month of August is all about getting them ready to go back to school. Everything from new shoes to art supplies plays a role in their preparedness—as does health and wellbeing. And with COVID-19 concerns adding extra stress (here are some tips for that), planning is something many parents are doing right now. The following tips can help you keep healthy peace of mind as you prep your young ones for another year at school.
There are plenty of reasons to schedule a back-to-school physical. Whether your little one plans to play sports, or you’re simply looking to track your child’s growth and development, you’ll want to schedule an annual physical. Your doctor may also call this a “well child checkup” or “preventive care.” Getting it out of the way before the school year will help you and your child focus on other aspects of their learning, and ensure that they’re physically ready to take on another year with new classmates. If you’re concerned about scheduling an in-office visit due to COVID-19, check with your provider about contactless virtual care options.
Trip to the optometrist
Did you know a nearsighted student performs up to twice as well in school if they wear glasses regularly? That means students who don’t wear glasses—or don’t even know they need glasses—are more likely to struggle in the classroom. From computer screens (which are more important than ever with virtual learning) to the chalkboard, the ways students learn require them to maintain healthy vision. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule your child’s annual eye exam before the start of the school year. Many annual well child visits also include a basic vision test to address major concerns.
Immunizations and screenings
Sometimes your children can’t go back to school before they receive required immunizations. This is particularly an issue if the school in question is a college or university. If your child’s school hasn’t communicated any requirements, or you’re simply unsure about recommended immunizations or vaccines for back to school, the CDC has helpful guidelines available to you. It’s also important to have your child screened for age-appropriate conditions, such as hearing before preschool, obesity before grade school and depression before high school.
School clothes savings
Making sure your kids have a closet full of new clothes before classes begin is an annual ritual. With the cost of designer clothing, shoes and other apparel, a fun trip to the department stores can quickly become a burden on your bank account. But there are ways to save. Bundle the basics like socks, and then stagger your shopping to get the best deals on t-shirts, fall wear and blue jeans using these money-saving shopping tips. Savings pros also recommend checking clearance options to browse last year’s seasonal styles at budget prices.
It’s time to stock up on healthy lunch options. The challenge comes when kids head back to school where they require a regimented lunch routine. Between those tempting vending machine treats and the hearty hot lunch options, keeping your kid’s school day diet healthy can be difficult. However, with a little bit of research and creativity, you can turn your child’s sack lunch into a cornucopia of nutrients. And if you’re balancing multiple family members doing work and school at home, stock up on easy-to-grab healthy snacks or consider meal prepping on the weekends. Here are some money-saving tips if you’re on a tight food budget.
Michigan summer days are long with the sun not setting until well after 9 p.m. That can mean later bedtimes followed by snoozing later the next morning, too. As the first day of school gets closer, it’s important to get kids back on a sleep routine that they can maintain throughout the year. The National Sleep Foundation has helpful tips for starting this process about two weeks before the first day, so it’s a gradual change. Remember that sleep is important for your little ones. Not enough sleep can lead to lower grades and has also been linked to concentration problems in kids. It’s also important for the whole family to be on a healthy sleep schedule. If the stress from COVID-19 is impacting your sleep cycle, try these tips.
Mask wear and care
If your child is planning to attend school on-site, even for just a couple of days per week, masks will likely be required in some format depending on age. Make sure your kids are comfortable wearing masks and stock up on kid-sized options (or make your own) and let them choose their colors and patterns, just like they choose their lunch box and backpack. Consider spending a few hours a day wearing them around the house or yard so your child becomes used to wearing one for longer periods of time. Here are more tips on mask wear and care.
Check your health plan benefits
It’s important to start the school year successfully. A big part of that success lies in your child’s health and wellbeing. Talk to your health insurance provider to see what options are available to you and your family. At Priority Health, for example, members and their dependents receive free preventive care and have access to programs and services to help them stay fit, eat healthier and live better.
With just a little pre-planning in August, you can be ready to kick off a safe and healthy school year.