As parents and children prepare for a new school year, keeping children in the classroom and out of the nurse’s office is a top priority. Dr. Evan Meeks, a pediatrician at White-Wilson Medical Center’s Niceville Clinic, offers 10 tips for a healthy and successful school year.
1. Get back into a school routine. Set a bedtime and wake time schedule, and stick to it. Children need 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
2. Plan for sick days. Discuss with your health care provider your concerns and plans for medical issues that may arise during the year.
3. Schedule a checkup. An annual checkup helps monitor your school-aged child’s growth and development.
4. Be sure eye glasses and contact lenses are up-to-date before classes start. Consider having a spare pair to avoid missed school due to mishaps.
5. Wash your hands. Discuss with children the importance of hand washing and lead by example. Show them that washing hands before and after eating or visiting the bathroom is smart.
6. Arm your entire family with a flu vaccine. Children should begin receiving the vaccine at 6 months of age.
7. Learn to control asthma. Asthma causes much of the missed school and work in our community. Consider attending one of the Asthma Group Appointment Project (AGAP) sessions to learn to control flare ups.
8. Take a vitamin. An age-appropriate multivitamin will provide you with all you the supplemental vitamins you need.
9. Put it on your calendar. Being organized and prepared for a busy school year can help relieve stress. Families need to carve out time for what is important — work, play, sports, exercise, rest, holidays and fishing.
10. Create a launchpad designated for homework, backpacks and sports equipment. Nothing is worse than doing your homework and forgetting it at home.
Dr. Meeks is an American Board of Pediatrics certified physician currently accepting new patients. He leads AGAP sessions in Niceville and Fort Walton Beach each month. Sessions are open to asthmatic adults, children and caregivers. Participants receive an Asthma Control Test and assessment, participate in group discussion and create an asthma action plan.