Healthy Back-To-School Checklist
1. Schedule Dental Checkup
A regular checkup and cleaning scheduled about month before school starts helps you maintain a consistent schedule and gives you time to schedule follow-up appointments should any problems arise. Right before school is a good time to talk to your dentist about sealants and mouthguards for sports.
Check one off your list! Ask about our sibling appointments! To save you time we can often schedule siblings at the same time.
2. Check on Immunizations/Paperwork
Make sure you know if your child is up-to-date on vaccines and if you have the appropriate paperwork filled out for your school. Here are the New Mexico School Entry Immunization Requirements from the NM Vaccine Advisory Committee.
3. Schedule Physicals/Paperwork
If your child needs a physical and form signed by a doctor to participate in school sports, make sure to get the appointment and appropriate form to the doctor for signature.
4. Schedule Vision Check
Undetected vision problems can cause learning and behavior problems in school. Make sure to have your child’s vision checked for more than distance. Don’t wait, especially if your child is having problems with reading.
5. Allergies Communications
Eight percent of children under the age of eighteen have some type of food allergy. Working with an allergist to determine what if any accommodations need to be made at school, as well as establishing yourself as a “resource rather than a watchdog” when communicating with school personnel, will help all to best serve your child.
6. Make Sleep Adjustments
Start readjusting to a school-year bedtime now. Readjust slowly, because cold turkey is as hard on parents as it is on kids trying to go to sleep when it’s still light outside. Try a 15-minute adjustment per night, and slow down the pace before bedtime with some reading. Do not let kids read from a smartphone screen or tablet before bed, unless you relish having crabby, unproductive kids the next morning.
7. Re-establish Healthy Brushing Routines
While you’re settling kids in earlier, it’s a good time to re-establish healthy brushing and flossing routines. Start with a new toothbrush, although your child may have one from the recent dental visit you scheduled. Regardless, you want to replace that frayed, sad relic in the cup with one your child likes and your dentist recommends. Whether it’s Wonder Woman or Power Rangers, it should have soft bristles made of a round-ended or “polished” material that are easy on children’s gums.
8. Create a Healthy Learning Space
Make a special place for thinking, reading, and studying. Have your kids make a “great thinking in progress” sign, reinforcing that study, reading, and thinking are valued. Wherever you decide to set up your special thinking place, ensure TV noise and adult conversation does not clutter study time. Make sure the space is comfortable and well lit with a desk or table and a comfortable reading chair. A portable materials caddy allows you to bring out your collection of supplies when assignments call for them.
Parents should have a visual on the computer screen if computer work is involved; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, computer games, and cellphones should not be allowed in this space while “great thinking is in progress.”
9. Healthy Lunches and Snacks
Protein and low-sugar choices keep your child alert and your child’s teeth healthy. Every lunch should have at least three grams of protein. Include teeth-friendly snacks and lunch-items like fruit, string cheese, veggies and hummus, and unsweetened applesauce. Don’t pack in lunches cavity-causing fruit roll-ups or sticky granola bars. Need some ideas? Here are 27 fun ideas for portable lunches. Encourage your child to drink water throughout the school day by packing a sealed, easy to attach to a backpack water bottle. Also, choose water for your child’s lunch drink flavored with an orange or lime slice.
10. Parents, take care of yourselves
Make sure you are doing for yourselves what you do for your children. Have you done these back-to-school healthy “to do’s” for yourself? Have you had your eyes checked lately? Have you had that mammogram? Is your dental exam and cleaning overdue? Remember, you can’t care for others if you aren’t caring for yourself.
Take the first step and fill out the appointment request today!