Avera Medical Minute: Preparing kids to go back to school

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Kids returning to school is just a few weeks away. And now is the time for families to get prepared to go back. An Avera pediatrician has some tips for parents.

Miranda: Why is it important for parents to make sure they take their kids to see a pediatrician before school starts?

Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig: I would like to remind families that well care visits are not just for athletes. Just to touch base with their doctor to make sure there aren’t any underlying medical conditions that might be a concern. It is a nice opportunity for parents to ask questions about what they need to do to get their kids ready for school, update vaccines if they need to, update medical history things.

Miranda: A lot of kids are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine yet, but have there been any questions from parents about the vaccine?

Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig: The most common question I get is, when will it be available for younger kids? Unfortunately, I do not know. That is in the hands of the FDA and those doing research. In the meantime, there are questions about if I can’t get the vaccine, how can I best protect my child? Wearing masks is still the best thing you can do. Stressing the importance of good hand hygiene. If they are sick with anything, visit with their doctor, and get tested before they go back to school.

Miranda: Back to school shopping, kids will have their backpacks, and those backpacks can get heavy. What tips or advice do you have for choosing the right backpack?

Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig: Making sure that the backpack fits them correctly and they are wearing it the right way. They are designed to wear over both shoulders. If they wear it on one shoulder, all the weight goes to that one shoulder. If they don’t distribute the weight correctly they will end up with sore backs.

Miranda: What are some things parents at home can prepare their kids for going back to school?

Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig: One thing is getting them back into the school routine, especially if they are used to summer activities with a little less structure, later nights, sleeping in in the morning, those kinds of things. A week or so before school starts, setting that time for what bedtime is going to be during the school year, and what wakeup time to reset their circadian rhythm. A lot of kids, especially those who had at home learning, and are going back to in person learning, it is good to get back into that routine, and make sure that there isn’t anything they are worried or anxious about as they transition to being back in school.

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