Doctors' Orders: Getting your child ready for back-to-school

Dr. Katy Stordahl

By Dr. Katy Stordahl, Children’s Hospital Emergency Department physician

Doctors' Orders is an ongoing series featuring articles from the experts at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

Looking after your child’s well-being can improve their success in the classroom. Here are 5 simple tips to ensure they are “back-to-school ready.”

  1. Vaccinate against illness. Children typically receive vaccinations or booster shots before kindergarten and seventh grade. But the flu shot is offered annually, and it’s best to get it early, as soon as it becomes available.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. How much sleep a child needs depends on age, but on average children between the ages of 5 and 12 need 10 to 11 hours sleep. It’s also important to reduce screen time.
  3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Kids need lots of energy and brain power that a good breakfast can supply. Look for foods that are lower in sugar, higher in fiber and with protein to keep them full longer.
  4. Stay home when you are sick. If your child has a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, keep them home from school.
  5. Watch what you put in your mouth. Teaching your children good hygiene, like handwashing or not putting shared objects in their mouths, helps stop the spread of germs and illness. Teach them not to share food, drinks or utensils that other kids have touched.

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