It’s finally time for kids everywhere to head back to school. This can be both a relief and a terror for parents as they prepare children for days filled with educational activities, new friends, and plenty of germs. And while many parents believe stocking up on hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent colds, they may be disappointed to find it does just the opposite. Limiting your child’s exposure to bacteria may actually weaken the immune system and subject them to a greater risk of illness or disease.
So while hand sanitizer may help, the key is moderation. Below are a few more health tips to prepare your family for back to school:
- Stock up on tissue. Make sure your child knows to avoid coughing and sneezing classmates and to cover his or her own mouth and nose during a cough or sneeze.
- Invest in a recyclable water bottle for daily use. With daily washing, water bottles can keep kids away from the water fountains and out of the school clinics.
- Use mechanical pencils. Classroom pencil sharpeners are a playground for bacteria. Reusable mechanical pencils will also reduce waste!
- Stay up to date on immunization shots. This means hepatitis B, chickenpox, and a MMR booster for junior high.
- Check the eyes. Keeping your child up to date on vision check-ups is an important part of back to school health.
- Update emergency contact form. Most schools keep a bank of information for students in case of emergency. Each year update the information to reflect the most accurate methods of contact.
The best things a parent can do to help a child through the back to school transition is listen. Take time each day to talk about school life and pay attention to signs of distress from your child. School should be a fun and exciting part of growing up and following these easy tips can help keep it that way!