The transition of starting school for the first time can be difficult for children because it changes their routine.
How do parents allay a child’s anxiety about starting school?
Paediatricians often encourage parents to get their children into routines – bath time, bedtime, meals – because they can help create a sense of comfort and calm.
The transition of starting school for the first time, changing grades or changing schools can be difficult for children because it changes their routine.
Parents can help ease anxiety about school by:
- visiting the school and/or classroom in advance
- keeping your own anxieties from your children
- not belittling the child’s feelings
- relating stories of your childhood, for example, about your first day of school
Why are childhood immunisations important?
Childhood immunisations are important because they prevent people from getting certain diseases.
Some people believe that immunisations are no longer important because the diseases that they prevent are now no longer common. But, physicians insist the reason these diseases are not common anymore is because so many people have been vaccinated and protected against them.
Many schools require children be vaccinated against certain diseases before starting school. Find out what immunisations your child’s school requires.
Making sure children are up-to-date with immunisations is the best way to protect your family, school and community from outbreaks of unnecessary illnesses and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why is it important for kids to continue to get an annual health-check even when they appear to be healthy?
Annual health visits are an opportunity for your children’s doctor not only to make sure they have been given the appropriate vaccines but also to check their development, behaviour and overall well-being.
Some things your children’s doctor might look into, according to the AAP, are any concerns about:
- learning problems
- social behaviour
- toilet training
Health visits can help identify possible concerns about your children’s health, including hearing problems, vision problems or learning disorders.
There is more time to focus on your children’s overall health at a health visit because there is not the immediate focus on any sickness they might have.
What are the harmful foods that can affect a child’s learning?
Too much junk food – especially fast food – can have a negative effect on a child’s ability to learn.
According to a study printed in journal Clinical Pediatrics, kids who ate fast food at least four times a week had lower test scores in reading, maths and science than kids who had not consumed any fast food.
Diets high in fats and sugars and low in nutrients have been shown to hurt immediate memory, learning processes and cognitive development, according to the study.
How can summer’s extreme heat affect children?
Children’s body heat can rise faster than an adult’s, and it only takes a few minutes for children’s bodies to overheat.
Health effects that could be caused by extreme heat include:
- dehydration – caused by not drinking enough water. The hotter it is and the more active your child is, the more frequently they need to drink water.
- heat cramps – low salt levels caused by sweating can cause these painful muscle cramps. The cramps are typically in the hands, arms, legs and abdomen and are usually the first sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.
- heat exhaustion – loss of water through heavy sweating causes this mild form of shock. Heavy sweating, extreme weakness and fatigue, dizziness and clammy skin are all signs of heat exhaustion.
- heat stroke – if the body’s temperature goes over 104 degrees, seek medical treatment immediately for your child. Symptoms may also include dizziness, confusion, headaches and chills.
To keep summer’s extreme heat from affecting your children:
- protect them from the sun – try to spend time outside in the morning or at night when the sun is least bright. Try to find a shaded spot.
- find cool shelter – plan to have a cool, air-conditioned place for your child. If this isn’t your home, find someplace else, such as a friend’s house or a library.
- increase water intake – drink more water before, during and after your outdoor activities.
- rest – heat can make children feel tired so plan for extra downtime.
What areas of a family’s life should be considered when creating a healthy transition from summer to school?
Working your way from a looser summer routine back into a more structured school-year routine is a great way to get a healthy start to school.
To start the school year off on the right foot, Dr Haneef recommends some of the following tips:
- healthy breakfast – give your kids healthy fuel to start the day.
Try a fresh fruit and spinach smoothie, some oatmeal or some fruit and nuts.
- walk/bike to and from school – incorporate healthy activity by taking an opportunity to walk or bike with your kids to school when you can.
If they’re old enough, encourage them to walk or bike to school with friends and use it as an opportunity to talk about safety.
- smart lunches – work to cut back on sugary drinks in your kids’ lunches by packing a water bottle instead. Try to include something protein-rich, like some almonds or apples with peanut butter.
And, don’t forget to add a cooling pack of some kind to keep their lunch at the right temperature.
- after-school activity – once your kids are home from school, encourage them to have some fun outside when the weather is nice.
Also, sign them up for after-school activities, such as sports or dance, which can keep the sofa and screen time to a minimum.
- hit the hay – children should be getting 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night, and teens need at least
Starting to get back into good sleep habits before summer ends will help once school starts.
- comfy clothes – help your kids choose loose fitting, comfortable clothes that don’t restrict movement and play while at school.
Also make sure they’re wearing shoes that will let them be active – trainers are always a good choice.
Starting off the school year on a healthy note can help that tricky transition from summer to school go as smoothly as possible.