Keeping Kids Healthy and Ready to Learn
To succeed in school, children need to come to school "ready to learn." In my experience as a school nurse, the following steps can be helpful:
*Since breakfast has been called the "most important meal of the day" have your child take time to eat a healthy breakfast with selections from all of the food groups. Be aware of sugary cereals!
*Ensure your child gets enough sleep. Eight to ten hours of sleep each night is recommended for an elementary school child.
*Reinforce the practice of your child washing his/her hands before meals and after using the toilet. Frequent handwashing is the best way to prevent contagious illnesses from spreading.
*Keep your child home if sick. If your child vomits at night or before school, has diarrhea, or has a temperature of 100 degrees F or higher, he/she should stay home the next day. Sick children coming to school may spread illness or "catch" another illness. Children should be fever-free for 24 hrs (without Tylenol or Advil) before returning to school.
*If your child develops any health problems, please inform the school nurse. It is important for the nurse to know if your child has had a highly contagious illness such as strep throat, "pink eye' (conjunctivitis), impetigo, or head lice.
*If your child needs any medication in school, including "over the counter" medications (such as cough drops, Tylenol etc), please follow the district medication policy.
*Keep your child's school emergency card up to date. Please call us with changes in phone numbers. It is very distressing to a child if he/she is ill, injured, or upset, and we are unable to reach the parent.
*Spend time with your child talking about fears, goals, failures, or accomplishments in a relaxed manner.
*Monitor television viewing, computer, Internet use, and electronic games.
*Encourage your child to exercise at least 30 minutes daily. Set aside time for fun, family exercise! Try walking with your child to and from school, weather permitting.
*Insist on basic safety principles such as wearing a car seat belt, bicycle helmet, or playing safely in playground equipment.
If you take good care of yourself and provide a positive health role model for your child, you are more likely to have a healthy child.