The first full week of school for students

Published 1:38 pm Monday, August 12, 2019

It is the officially the first full week of school for students in the tri-state area. With students back in the classrooms, many school districts want to remind parents of all ages to prepare to help your children ease back into a good routine for this school year.

A new school year can be overwhelming for the whole family. From seeing that list of school supplies to purchase, scheduling wellness checkups, to helping your children adjust schedules throughout the days in order to get adequate sleep, there are a lot of changes in a short period of time.

Immunizations are a vital part of keeping children of all ages healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommended immunization schedule is designed to protect infants and children early in their life when they are most vulnerable and before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening infectious diseases.

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“It is crucial that children are up to date on recommended vaccinations before they start each school year,” said Khalid Memon, MD, KentuckyOne Health Pediatric Associates in London.

For younger kids, Kentucky has several health requirements for school admission at various grade levels. New this year for Kentucky students, grades K-12, is proof of receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.

An eye exam is recommended before the first year of school and a preventative healthcare examination is required within one year of entry into the sixth grade, along with another series of vaccinations, including Tdap, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough, meningococcal or meningitis, and a second dose of varicella, if it has not already been given.

There are several vaccinations that may be recommended for your child, but not required for admission to school, like meningococcal B, Gardasil (human papillomavirus) and influenza vaccinations.

It’s important to remember that vaccines are not just for kids. College students and adults of all ages can benefit from vaccinations. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine which vaccines may be right for you and your family.

Getting enough sleep and transitioning the school schedule leads to better learning.

A restful sleep is important for general health and well-being but it is imperative to a child’s learning in school. It is important to adjust sleep schedules and if your children have been enjoying longer summer days and a later bedtime.

It is a good idea to ease your children into a new bedtime routine a few weeks prior to the start of the school year but adjusting it in 10 to 15 minute increments helps. It also helps to wake late sleepers earlier each morning to make the transition easier for the students.

It is also recommended that children avoid sodas or other caffeinated drinks six hours prior to going to sleep. Another good idea is limiting or eliminated a child’s access to electronics or screen time in the two hours that lead up to their bedtime. Getting a good night’s sleep is very crucial for reducing stress in students as it helps to manage their hormone levels.

A child’s mental health is just as important as the child’s physical health.

Regarding of their sleeping habits, children are vulnerable to some anxiety when starting a new school year. Worries can range from anxiety about their schoolwork to whether they will fit in and make new friends. Students that are entering high school also experience a level of anxiety due to switching classrooms, new teachers, and the worry of bullying.

Across the nation, 28 percent of students in grades sixth through twelfth reported that they experienced bullying, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are different types of bullying but all have a negative impact on the mental and physical health of the victim.

Signs that a child is more stressed than what is considered normal could include frequent complaints of headaches or even stomach pain with no medical explanation, a change in eating habits, a child who seems to be angry or agitated without a reason, cries frequently, or reports from their teacher that the child avoids class participation.

During a child’s annual wellness checkup, the necessary vaccinations will be given. Parents can also discuss any questions or concerns about their child’s sleep habits, their mental health, and their overall well-being. Speaking with children’s primary care providers about how you can help ease them into a good back to school routine is another important topic to discuss to make sure your child has a successful school year.

Parents Journal and Kentucky One Health contributed to information included in this story.

To learn more about how to keep your family healthy, you can call 844-423-3770 or you can visit