The ABC’s of Back-to-School Health


It’s that time of the year again. Summer break is winding down, and parents and kids alike are getting ready to head back-to-school. It can be a hectic transition for all, but your health shouldn’t take a hit. Add these three tips to your checklist to help make healthy habits easier during this stressful time of year.

Allow for plenty of sleep.

Over the summer months you may have shifted bedtime a little later, but as the first day of school approaches, it’s important to make sure everyone gets enough rest. Establish a sleep routine as early as possible. The National Sleep Foundation provides guidelines for the amount of sleep children should get at different ages. For kids between the ages of 3 and 5, they should get 10-13 hours of sleep a night; ages 6 to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep; and teens 14 and older should get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

Book appointments and check-ups.

Ideally, you would want to set up annual check-ups before the new school year begins to ensure your child’s vaccinations are up to date. Once you have your child’s schedule look at the best opportunities to book future appointments or physicals. You may want to schedule visits to the doctor during breaks to ensure they don’t miss out on important school work. Also, pay close attention to the deadlines for any sports physicals. Washington County Regional Medical Center’s Pediatric Clinic (478-552-0006) and Family Practice (478-552-9000) offer appointments throughout the week for your convenience. 

Create healthy snacks and meals in advance.

As the days get busier and more extracurricular activities are added to the plate, meal planning can help tremendously. Plot out healthy meals and snacks for the week, and stock up on lots of fruits and veggies. Invite your children to help out in meal preparation—let them pre-sort the salad or baggies of trail mix. Children enjoy meals they create, and it can be a great family-bonding experience. Making tasty and healthy meals together can help your entire family stay on the journey of wellness beyond the first day of school.