Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summer's end checklist for kids

Even adults get that "back to school" feeling in August--time for a renewal, time to get serious.

Jennifer Caudle, MD, a Rowan Family Medicine doctor, has some tips for the transition.

ADJUSTING THE ZZZZs

Parents need to gradually get children back on a regular sleep schedule. They need enough sleep to learn.

Start changing sleep schedules 2-3 weeks before the start of school. Send the kids to be 15 to 20 minutes earlier each night. Avoid sugary snacks before bed and set a route--say 15 minutes of stories for the little ones, then lights out.

For the older ones, no devices in the room. Maybe books only.

BACKPACKS CAN MEAN BACK TROUBLE

If a child has to lean forward to carry a backpack, it's too heavy, (My daughter used to carry all her books home and back--I picked the thing up once and almost got a hernia.)

Get packs with padded straps and teach kids not to sling it over one shoulder.

A child should not carry more than 10-15% of their body weight. A 30-lb pack carried by a 60-lb child--no!

SOMETHING TO SNEEZE AT

Late summer and early fall hay fever season. Going into unused school buildings can also stir up dust, mites, and other allergens. If your child is sneezy, consult an allergist.

ALSO HEADACHES

If a child complains of a headache, it probably is NOT to avoid school. Headache complaints tend to multiply at the beginning of the school year. This can be because of syress, lack of sleep, worry or diet. Call the doctor if the headache is accompanied by a fever or stiff neck.

COLDS AND OTHER BUGS

A runny nose, fever, sore sinuses or or a sore throat can distract kids from learning.  Other kids can also catch it. If the child has a fever, he or she should definitely stay home.

Kids can also get "pink eye" in school. This is highly contagious--the child should stay home and the doctor can supply drops.

Stomach bugs also pop up in school. If the child vomits or has diarrhea, keep him or her home.  Gradually introduce clear liquids and bland foods. A lot of kids will drink Pedialyte to prevent dehydration.

So--some fun coming...Be brave.

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