Prepare now for the new school year

August 16, 2010 4:59:23 PM PDT
There are thousands of worries a child can have about going back to school, but many can be avoided with a little parental planning. Parents who wait to the last minute can actually add to the stress, so we've made a medical back-to-school checklist that may alleviate a little of it. If your child plays a school sport, you're almost out of time to get their sports physical. If your child takes medicine during the day, you need to talk to your doctor and get a medical form for the school.

"Things like diabetes, asthma, and you're going to require any medication, special diets, special accommodations in school -- that's really important," Baylor Pediatrician Dr. Sara Rizvi said.

Remember, besides preschool vaccinations, there are now required seventh grade shots, and the meningitis shot for college freshmen.

If your child has a cell phone, give them tough rules: No driving and talking or texting.

Some suggest checking your child's hair for lice and to treat problems now.

"Teach your teen to use the backpack with both straps," Dr. Rizvi said. "The one-shoulder approach is actually notorious for causing back and shoulder injuries. And teach them not to overpack."

Make sure backpack straps are padded and backpacks aren't too heavy.

How do you handle a child's first-day fears? Reassure them and ask questions.

"If they're encountering problems like bullying or encountering problems making friends or academic problems, they can feel they can come to the parents and talk to them about that," Dr. Rizvi said. "That kind of helps alleviate some of that stress."

Meet your child's teacher and learn about homework and projects.

Finally, back-to-school bedtimes: Do parents fight to get them to bed early the week before or let them go to school tired that first day?

"Some people say well do it via tough love, but unfortunately, that can sometimes mean that the first day of school is not so good because kids are going back sleepy, and first impressions really count," Dr. Rizvi said.

The verdict is to start kids to bed early now. The more information your child has about the new school year, the less stressed he or she will feel on that first day.


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