BY NANCY SCHRINER
LAZY DAYS, STAYING UP LATE, and sleeping in will come to a sad end when summer
vacation is over. The inevitable first
day of school is looming out there in the not-too-distant future, so parents
should definitely take the time now to re-assess health decisions they need to
make concerning their children. Here are some suggestions for ensuring a
healthy start for your child in school this year.
Ear, Eye & Dental Certificates
students enrolling in Bibb and Houston County schools need these up-to-date
certificates both of which can be obtained from a doctor or the county health
and Oral Health Assessments
the necessary forms for enrollment in school can be obtained from the health
department, parents should seriously consider a visit to the
professionals. An optometrist and a
dentist can give parents a better assessment of the health of their child’s
eyes and teeth.
Monte Murphy, Optometrist at Primary Eyecare concurs, “I like vision screenings
from school and pediatrician’s offices, but they are designed for quantity and
not quality. They have their purpose but
if you want a more thorough and complete exam for your child you will need to
see an eyecare professional that is comfortable with children.”
doctor will check your child for visual acuity so that he can read, work on the
computer and see the board in his classroom.
Eye tracking skills, eye teaming skills, and depth perception are other
very important assessments a doctor will make.
Making sure that color vision is tested is especially important in very
young students, because much of what they are taught involves color
identification and discrimination.
in the case of an eye doctor, a dentist will make a thorough examination of
your child’s teeth and evaluate how to keep his teeth healthy in the
future. Dr. Margaret Moore, of Pediatric
Dentistry of Central Georgia says, “Children who have a great experience as a
child with a dentist inevitably have healthier mouths as adults. They gain the advantage of significant better
dental health and tremendous financial savings.”
S. Lewin, Director of Pediatric Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Children’s
National Medical Center says, “Start gradually easing into an earlier bedtime, and
an earlier wake-up-time a few weeks before school starts to have kids rested
and ready to go on the first school morning. Cutting out sugar- and
caffeine-laden snacks prior to bedtime can also help, as well as limiting
to go to bed and when to wake up is only part of the story. Some children need a bedtime routine to
follow. When your child takes a bath,
brushes his teeth, changes into pajamas, or when a bedtime story or nightly
prayers happen, all contribute to helping a child calm down before lights are
might be helpful to post a daily schedule in a prominent place in the
home. Discussing the schedule and
finding a time for each activity can help parents and children alike in
managing day-to-day stresses that will inevitably arise. Having less stress is
definitely a boost to healthy living.
all children have special health concerns, but if yours do, it is extremely
important to have a discussion with the school prior to the first day. If your child needs medicine during the day,
if special information and forms are required, or if there is a need for an
emergency care plan, adequate time needs to be given for these concerns to be
release athletic forms
middle or high school students interested in athletics as an extra-curricular
activity, physician release forms are required.
After a brief physical exam the doctor will certify that your child is
healthy enough to participate in sports.
often overlooked health concern is your child’s backpack, which can cause
shoulder, neck, and back pain if too heavy.
Most experts agree that backpacks should not weigh more that 10-15% of
what your child weighs. The American
Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons prefer rolling backpacks or ones with padded
shoulder straps and back.
but certainly not least, provide healthy foods for your child. Breakfast should be mandatory, whether at
home or at school, because it takes tremendous energy to think and to learn and