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Get a Healthy Start to the School Year

It’s here again—back-to-school season. While the start of a new school year is exciting, it can also be overwhelming for kids and parents. Prepping for going back to school involves more than picking up binders, pencils, and notebooks—you must prioritize your child’s health. As summer ends and you gear up for a new school year, follow these steps to prepare.

Get a Physical

Routine physical exams are essential for people of all ages but vital for children. Even if your child seems healthy, they need to get a yearly physical. A yearly checkup lets your Primary Care provider track your child’s growth and development. Plus, physicals can uncover any pre-existing conditions, problems, or illnesses before they worsen.

Here’s what to expect during your child’s physical:

  • Checking and recording height and weight
  • Examining eyes, ears, nose, and throat
  • Checking vision and hearing
  • Checking breathing
  • Taking blood pressure
  • Checking spine/posture, screening for scoliosis
  • Checking physical and motor development
  • Discussing your family medical history, medical conditions, allergies, home life, diet, and physical activity

You can make an appointment for your child’s physical exam at Primary Care.

Get Ready for Sports

If your child participates in school sports, there are a few things to prep for before the season starts. Your child likely wasn’t running laps every day during the summer. Help them ease back into the demanding physical schedule by getting exercise together. You can ask your child’s coach, gym teacher, or trainer for advice on what activities or exercises to do.

Make sure to give your child time to rest, too. Overtraining leads to a higher risk of injury. In the U.S., about 30 million children and teens participate in organized sports, and 3.5 million are injured each year. If your child experiences a sports-related injury, Frederick Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine can help.

Your child will also need a sports physical to show they’re healthy enough to participate in athletics. Sports physicals are available at Urgent Care. Just ask for a school system sports physical form when you visit an urgent care location.

Get Vaccinated

Your child’s immune system is not as developed as an adult’s. Vaccines help protect your child—and those around them—from getting or spreading illnesses, helping keep them safe and healthy as they grow.

For the 2022-2023 school year, the vaccine requirements for children in Maryland are:

  • Diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DTaP, DT, Td, and Tdap)
  • Polio
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Chickenpox (varicella)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningococcal (MCV4)

Currently, Frederick County Public Schools do not require the COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages six months and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.

All vaccinations are available through your Primary Care provider.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential. According to the Sleep Foundation, children have improved mood and ability to focus, form, and retain memories with quality sleep. A good sleep schedule is vital for your child’s success at school.

You are not alone if your child did not have a strict bedtime over the summer. It’s normal for kids to stay up and sleep a little later during their vacation months. What’s important is setting them up for success when they do have to return to school.

  • Adjust your child’s sleep schedule gradually in the weeks leading up to school. Start by having them go to bed and wake up 15 minutes earlier. Adjust their bed and wake times every few days until your child naturally wakes up when they’d wake up for school.
  • Create a healthy bedtime routine to help your child relax and promote more restful sleep. A good bedtime routine includes activities like taking a warm bath or shower, reading, meditating, and cuddling with a parent.
  • Avoid screen time at least one hour before bedtime. Children who view blue light before bedtime experience poor quality sleep. Turn off all electronic devices that emit blue light, like the TV, computer or laptop, cell phone, or any handheld video game device.

For more tips on preparing your child for back to school, talk to your Primary Care provider.