The healthy back-to-school checklist

January 30, 2015

Getting ready for back-to-school is a great time to ensure your child is healthy and prepared for the year ahead. Before the first bell rings, tick these things off your list to help your child start the new school year right.

The healthy back-to-school checklist

1. Book an appointment with the doctor

Checking in with your family doctor is not only a way to identify current issues, but to establish benchmarks and assess whether your child is reaching developmental milestones.

2. Ensure vaccines and screenings are updated

You'll want to be sure that all of your child's vaccines are up to date before returning to school.

  • It's also good to make sure vision and hearing tests are all done, as trouble in these areas could factor into poor performance in school.

3. Drop into the dentist

The start of the year is a good time to get this appointment out of the way.

  • Regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential to preventing tooth decay and laying the foundation for good dental health and oral hygiene for life.

4. Buy the right backpack

While you want your child to like the backpack he or she has to carry every day, there are a couple of other things to consider to make sure it's not causing any discomfort or damage.

  • Backpacks are bigger and stronger than ever before because they are now built to hold laptops in addition to books and binders.
  • Ensure you get a backpack that fits your child's body properly to avoid unnecessary physical strain on their growing bodies.
  • Your child's backpack should be no more than 15 per cent of his or her body weight. Anything more and you're risking back, shoulder and neck injuries.

5. Fill the backpack with the essentials

Aside from the usual school supplies, make sure to include these items in your child's backpack:

  • Wellness essentials, such as tissues and hand sanitizer
  • If your child has allergies, make sure his or her automatic injection device or medicine is placed in a secure, accessible location.

6. Start eating right

We all know that food fuels us, and your child's ability to learn and function throughout the day depends on the right nutrition.

  • The right foods make learning easier while the wrong foods interfere with basic day-to-day activities.
  • Fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods can help your child power through the day.
  • Avoid high-sugar, empty calorie drinks and snacks that will lead to energy crashes later in the day.

7. Remember the importance of sleep

Adequate sleep is essential to a positive school experience.

  • Research suggests that school-age kids should be getting as much as 12 hours of sleep every night.
  • While it may be hard to adjust to earlier bedtimes after the summer, everyone will be happier once early morning wake-up calls are no longer painful.

Back to school is an exciting time for everyone. By checking these things off your list, you're setting your child up for a year of success in school and in life.

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