All set for the school run? Before you drop your kids off at the gates take a peek at our five-point plan, to help keep them happy and healthy this term.
With the summer holidays well and truly over, this week will see children across the country returning to school, hopefully bright-eyed and eager to get stuck into the new autumn term. As a parent, you’ll likely have ticked a fair few back-to-school tasks off your to-do list by now – buy new uniform [check], locate school bag [check] and attach what feels like 237 name labels [check, check, check].
But as your child heads into the new school year, what about their health? Of course, there’s not much you can do to prepare for the coughs and colds they might catch (other than stock up on tissues and sympathy). But there are a few quick checks you can do to ensure your little ones head back to the classroom feeling their best.
Dr. Ricardo Di Cuffa, Head GP at Your Doctor, shares his top five tips on how to keep your children happy, healthy and confident this term:
1.Are your child’s vaccinations up to date?
Contacting your GP is a good way of tracking what vaccinations your child is due. Although it can be a daunting experience for children, it is vital to try to protect your children from these various deadly viruses and illnesses. Check if there are any vaccinations coming up this year.
- Book your child an eye test
Routine eyesight assessments are recommended for young children, as up to 80 per cent of what is taught in a classroom is presented visually. What your child sees can heavily affect their development and achievements. Not being able to see in a classroom can be confusing and can affect a child’s confidence.
- Get your kids hearing checked
It is important to identify any potential hearing problems early on in development, as sadly they can go undiagnosed for months and even years, and can seriously affect your child’s abilities and confidence at school – if they can’t hear the teacher, for example.
- Invest in quality children’s footwear
Buying good school shoes is imperative for good foot structure and to help protect feet while they are growing. Bones in the feet do not fuse together until puberty and if they are not looked after in these formative years, then it can lead to future problems, such as bad posture, back pain, shin splints, bunions and becoming flat-footed. Think of good shoes as providing a stable home for hard-working feet.
- Make sure your kids get enough sleep
Sleep is fundamental for body and brain development, as well as your immune system. Depending on a child’s age, the recommended hours of sleep varies – for three to five year olds, 11 to 13 hours of sleep is recommended; five to 10 year olds need roughly 10 to 11 hours; and for 10 to 17 year olds, around nine hours of sleep is enough for the body and mind to function fully.
Of course, the start of a new school term can also bring with it a host of unwanted nasties. To help keep your child as healthy as possible, check out our top tips on how to spot and treat common colds, nits, worms, chickenpox, and sickness bugs, should you need support and advice. Here’s to a healthy new term!
By Dr. Ricardo Di Cuffa – MBBS MRCS (ed) DOHNS MRCGP PG Cert Aest