As the back-to-school season approaches, it's important for parents to focus not only on purchasing school supplies and preparing for academic challenges, but also on ensuring their child's overall health and well-being. To help you navigate this exciting yet often stressful time, we've compiled a list of five health tips from ARC Pediatricians.
1. Make sure your child's vaccinations are up to date
Vaccinations are vital to safeguarding your child's health, especially when returning to a school setting. "Prevention is always better than cure," says Grace C. Averitt, DO, Pediatrics at ARC Georgetown. "Keeping your child's vaccinations up to date is key for their overall health and safety."
Speak with your child's pediatrician to ensure they are current on all recommended vaccines. By protecting your child against preventable diseases, you contribute to the well-being of the entire school community.
See the CDC's recommendations for childhood vaccines.
2. Set up a bedtime routine and stick to it
Adequate sleep is crucial for a child's physical and cognitive development. "Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can significantly enhance your child's academic performance and overall well-being," says Alan K. Rashid, MD, Pediatrics at ARC Round Rock. "As back-to-school time approaches, proactively establish a consistent routine before the school starts, making it easier for your child to adapt to both bedtime and waking up in the morning."
3. Promote good hygiene
"Clean hands, safe hands!" says Lan Anh Van-Dinh, MD, Pediatrics at ARC Liberty Hill. "Teaching your child proper hand hygiene practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illnesses."
In a school environment where children interact closely, good hand hygiene habits are essential. Teach your child the importance of washing hands frequently with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom.
4. Promote healthy eating habits
Nutrition plays a crucial role in your child's growth and cognitive function. "Fuel your child's potential with nutritious choices," says Sravya Reddy, MD, Pediatrics at ARC Round Rock. "A well-balanced diet supports both physical and mental well-being." Dr. Reddy suggests:
- Offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in their meals and snacks.
- Engage your child in grocery shopping and meal preparation to foster their interest in healthy foods.
- Encourage them to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
By providing nutritious meals and snacks, you lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle that will benefit your child long after the school years. If you and your family are facing challenges in accessing nutritious meals, tell your ARC Pediatrician. They can connect you with local organizations and programs that provide assistance.
5. Help your child manage stress
School can bring about various stressors for children, including academic pressure, social challenges, or extracurricular commitments. "Empathy and open communication are key to supporting your child's emotional well-being during stressful times," says Ricardo J. Chapa, MD, Pediatrics at ARC Dripping Springs. Dr. Chapa suggests:
- Create a safe and open environment where your child feels comfortable discussing their worries and concerns.
- Encourage healthy coping mechanisms such as deep breathing exercises, physical activity, or engaging in hobbies they enjoy.
- Teach them the importance of balance and the value of taking breaks to recharge their mind and body.
As you prepare your child for another successful school year, remember that their health and well-being are integral to their overall success. By following these tips from ARC Pediatricians, you can create a foundation for your child to thrive academically, emotionally, and physically.
Schedule a child well-check at ARC today
A well-check exam focuses on maintaining your child's health and is a time to discuss preventive care. Our doctors cover growth, development, immunization updates, and more. In the Central Texas area, 22 ARC Clinic locations offer pediatrics. Visit ARC Pediatrics to view all locations and providers and schedule your next appointment.