for your health
By Joseph Hanna
THE DREADED back-to-school commercials have started, which means summer’s end
is fast approaching and you need to start preparing your children for a good start to the
school year. While many parents may be using
this busy time to buy stationery supplies and
wardrobe musts, that’s not all your little ones
need to get them off to the best start possible.
Nothing will help ensure their success in
school more than making sure their health
needs are met. Start by following this handy
back-to-school health checklist.
Schedule regular checkups and
make sure required immunizations are
complete. Make sure your child is current on
medical and dental checkups. Depending on
your province and the age of your child, it may
also be time for an important immunization
booster. It’s imperative that your child’s vacci-
nation records are up-to-date since kids are
often exposed to different viruses and bacteria
while at school, and some educational institu-
tions require proof of immunization before
children can attend. If you suspect your child
has an issue with vision or hearing, schedule a
checkup, because impairment can have a nega-
tive impact on learning.
Have a healthy eating plan in place.
Summertime fun may have derailed your children’s healthy eating habits. Get them back on
track in time for the classroom by preparing a
healthy back-to-school meal plan using
Canada’s Food Guide ( hc-sc.gc.ca, search
“Canada’s Food Guide”).
It’s also important to make sure children
never skip breakfast. A nutritious breakfast provides essential nutrients and energy needed to
help them perform their very best at school. To
help ensure their lunch is always eaten, get them
involved in planning it by letting them choose
from healthy options. Don’t forget about healthful snacks for after-school activities.
Re-establish a healthy nighttime
routine. Getting a good night’s sleep is important for children’s performance in school.
Children ages 6 to 12 should get about 10 to 11
hours of sleep, while adolescents need about
nine to 10 hours. For tips on how to help your
children sleep better, visit the Canadian Sleep
Society’s website at css-scs.ca.
Practice backpack safety. Prevent
back-to-school backaches by making sure
your child’s backpack fits properly. It shouldn’t
weigh more than 10 to 15 per cent of your
child’s body weight, and it should be made to
fit snugly on the spine by adjusting the shoulder and waist straps.
Be prepared for an emergency.
With the help of your pharmacist and doctor,
create an action plan for handling any health
issues your child may have, such as asthma or
food allergies. Communicate this plan to
your child’s school. Make sure to also provide
them with an up-to-date list of your emergency contact information, as well as instructions on any medications your child is taking.
Although the pressure is on to get your
little ones ready, with
these tips in mind
you are on your way
to giving them the
healthiest start to a
great school year. C
Joseph Hanna, B.Sc.
Phm., CDE, CGP,
is director of Costco
Pharmacies in Costco’s Quebec locations
are independently owned and operated.