HOUSTON (August 18, 2015)

The first day of school is quickly approaching and parents have a lot on their plates as they prepare their children to get back in the school schedule grind. Amidst the back-to-school shopping for clothes and supplies, here are some important things that Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital wants to make sure aren’t overlooked:

  • Sleep: Depending on age, kids need to get anywhere from 8 to 11 hours of sleep a night according to the National Sleep Foundation. This can be difficult when a child has grown accustomed to staying up late during the summer. To help your child with this adjustment, encourage them to establish a new sleep schedule by going to bed an hour earlier every night and waking up earlier until they are in a new pattern. Also, make sure the electronic devices are put away before bed as the lights can disrupt sleep cycles.
  • Check-ups: A thorough exam from the pediatrician is something that should be done before each new school year in order to ensure all records are up to date. Vaccinations and medical records should be current in case you need to provide this information to the school. Some student athletes may need a sports physical as well.
  • Nutrition: Find out about your child’s lunch options at school. Nutrition is a big contributor to a student’s success in school and parents should be taking the initiative to encourage healthy eating with their children. By sending a lunch with your child, or encouraging them to make healthy choices in the school cafeteria, you can play a key role in your child’s health. Also, be sure to inform the school if your child has any food allergies.
  • Heat: The summer heat is in full force and can be a danger to students spending time outside during recess or participating in outdoor sports practices. Before sending the kids outside, make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Fatigue, thirst, dry lips and feeling overheated are all signs dehydration and should be taken seriously.
  • Gear: Heavy backpacks can put a lot of weight on your child’s back, neck and shoulders. It’s suggested that students use both backpack straps instead of slinging a backpack over just one shoulder. If the student has access to a locker, make sure they store some of their items instead of trying to carry them all at once. If a locker is unavailable, check to see if the school allows rolling backpacks, which may be a successful solution.

The staff and affiliated physicians at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital want your children to stay healthy as they head back to school. By following these tips, parents can be sure their kids will have a safe start to the school year.