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(Toms River) – With the new school year fast approaching, there is so much for parents to do in order to get their children ready. However, along with buying clothes, supplies and other necessities, the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) wants to remind parents it is also a good time to learn the important ways you can support your child’s health all the way from preschool to graduation day.
“The start of a new school year can put pressure on children and parents,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “As a parent, you want to help ensure that your child feels and performs their best throughout the school year. A healthy child tends to be a more successful child in the classroom.”
*The following is a list of healthy tips for back to school:
- Summer slumber habits reined in about two weeks prior to school starting. Begin setting alarms back about 15 minutes earlier each night, until they reach sleep and wake-up times that work for school.
- Personal devices turned off well before bedtime. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops emit blue light, which can disturb kids’ sleep patterns.
- Your child’s school likely requires proof of up-to-date immunizations. Kids entering elementary school may need shots against polio, chickenpox, and other diseases. Everyone who is eligible should also get a flu shot by the end of October and COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.
- If your kids are anxious about starting the new school year, and if they’ll be going into a new building, plan a visit before the first day to ease their worries.
- Hand washing can prevent about 20 percent of respiratory infections. So remind them to wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at key times, like after bathroom breaks, before lunch, or after playing outside.
- Boost your child’s health by sending them to school with nutritious lunches. Mixing things up with a whole-grain item, a protein, a fruit or veggie, and a dairy product all packed in an interesting way will make it more likely they will eat it.
- Studies show that drinking plenty of water reduces cavities and improves their readiness to learn. So think about sending your child off with a reusable bottle of fresh water.
- Teach children not to share hats, wigs, hair ribbons and ties, combs, brushes, scarves and other attire. This can spread head lice or increase their chances of contracting the pests. To protect against infections, teach them not to share things like chap sticks, eating utensils or drinking glasses. Teach them to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and to blow their noses into tissue.
For more information on important health tips for children, visit the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org
or follow us on Twitter@OCpublichealth or like us on Facebook.
*Tips provided by Johns Hopkin University staff & Division of Consumer Affairs