8 back-to-school wellness tips for kids

Check these off your list before the school year begins.

Ah, the first day of school: a time for new outfits, cluttered drop-offs and a barrage of photos. It's also a time to reevaluate your child's health and wellness because every early learner needs a strong, healthy foundation to build on.

Help prepare your child, both physically and mentally, by adding these eight tips to your back-to-school checklist.


Make sure they're up to date on their vaccinations.

Mother and daughter receiving vaccine shot

Putting school requirements aside, keeping up with your child's immunizations is one of the most important things you can do for them. Our preventive care checklists include important exams and vaccines to help you keep track of what they need, and when. View our preventive care checklist for children (birth to 10 years) and our checklist for adolescents (11–17 years).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older, and boosters for everyone 5 and older if eligible. For details, please review the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. You do not need to contact your doctor before your — or your child’s — appointment unless you have a specific medical question. The COVID vaccine is covered at $0 under your preventive care benefits. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 resource center and Sharp HealthCare’s website.


Get their eyes checked.

Young girl covering one eye

Doctors recommend a comprehensive eye exam during the preschool years (3 to 5 years old), and then again during the school-aged years (over 6 years old). But they may need more frequent exams with certain conditions. If you’re enrolled in an individual and family plan through Sharp Health Plan or Covered California, or through certain employer groups, pediatric vision benefits are part of your plan. View your Member Handbook for more information about your plan benefits.


Build healthy sleep habits.

Young boy napping on stack of books

According to Dr. Victoria Sharma, medical director of the Sharp Grossmont Sleep Disorders Center, "Youngsters between ages 6 and 13 need nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, while those ages 14 and up should get eight to 10 hours of shut-eye." Learn how to get kids on a regular sleep schedule.


Make time for play.

Young boy playing with toy train set

Many children thrive in structured environments, like school, where there’s a consistent routine and schedule to follow. Scheduling time for play gives kids more opportunities to learn, whether that’s through problem-solving or navigating their environment. Play isn’t just important for kids, it’s good for parents, too! Check out this webinar from Best Health® that explores the benefits of play, how it affects your relationships and more.


Put a focus on good nutrition.

Young boy eating lunch

Most kids love junk food, which is why these nutrition tips from Dr. Angelica Neison can come in handy. She stresses the importance of giving children healthy options, and perhaps the toughest task of all — modeling good eating habits ourselves.


Set open communication about cliques.

Teenage girl holding phone

One of the hardest parenting moments comes when you witness your child being hurt by their peers. It's up to parents to help children recognize healthy friendships. Read four tips parents can use to help children face cliques. Bullying can affect children’s physical and emotional health. Behavioral health services can provide additional support and services are available without a referral from a primary care physician. View behavioral health tips, tools and resources and search for a provider online.


Limit their screen time.

Young girl wearing earbuds watching show on iPad

Switching from summer to school-year screen time can be a challenge, as many parents are more lenient when school is out. Setting consistent rules is important, and does affect a child's learning. Try these six tips for building good screen time habits.


Help them (and you) make health a priority.

Young boy lying on couch with fever

School year sicknesses are unavoidable, but there are ways to keep them to a minimum. Pediatrician Dr. Michal Goldberg shares helpful information on tackling germs, overcoming illness, and keeping health and wellness top of mind.

Have kids heading off to college this year?

We’ve got them covered. View our young adult’s guide to accessing care to find out how they can receive care while they’re away from home.

Source: Sharp Health News

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