The first day of class is closer than you think, and getting your children ready for school takes more than filling their backpacks with the usual school supplies. Have you thought about what health requirements are needed this semester? Don’t be surprised by a note from the school nurse, as some schools will not enroll students without immunization records and updated physicals.


1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Different schools have different requirements, so contact your child’s school and ask what health requirements are needed. You may even be able to find some answers on the school website since many have a web page that includes health-related requirements such as suggested immunizations and whether a recent physical is needed. If the answer is yes, have the required forms ready before visiting the doctor. Your doctor may not have the forms you need.


2. LET’S GET PHYSICAL

A pre-school physical may help uncover some unexpected health problems. Specifically, hearing tests and vision exams can be especially important to your child’s success in school. The reason is simple: children who cannot hear or see clearly might not perform as well in class. It’s best to address these issues before class begins to ensure your child’s ability to learn.


3. KNOW THE SCHOOL NURSE

It’s always a good idea to reach out to the school nurse, or school secretary, and review a few basic items to make sure they are best prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure your child’s emergency contact information is accurate and current. If you move or change a telephone number, tell the school immediately. It is also a good idea to give the school your child’s physician and dentist contact information.

The school nurse also needs to know about your child’s medications. Do not forget to tell the school about any existing health problems or physical limitations. Whether it is allergies or asthma, it is always a good idea to let the school know in advance. Also, most schools require that the school nurse administer medications, so make those arrangements in advance.


4. START A SLEEP SCHEDULE

During summer, children often stay up late and enjoy sleeping in. Don’t wait until just before school begins to get them back into a sleep routine. Start implementing a school-appropriate bedtime a few weeks before school begins to ease your children back into the school routine. A good night’s rest is vital to learning and may make your life a little easier in the morning.


5. SHARING IS NOT ALWAYS CARING

Sharing toys and interacting with other children helps your child’s social development, but sharing is not always a good idea. Head lice and germs can spread easily in a classroom. Teach your children about the health risks of sharing clothes, hairbrushes, hats, or food and drink with others. It is also a good idea to give them a lesson on germs, how they spread, and the proper technique for hand washing. In addition, if your children are sick or have a fever, keep them home from school. A fever means your child’s immune system is fighting something which may be contagious.