Have you ever noticed that your child feels under the weather around the start of the school year? As students and little ones in day care spend time in close proximity to each other and touch shared surfaces, often times they spread germs to their classmates and playmates that can lead to sickness. That’s why many urgent care providers, such as MedExpress, acknowledge the beginning of the school year as one of their busiest seasons.
“There are some important tips to remember when sending our kids back to school, especially in light of COVID-19,” says Dr. Ashley Dunn-Kerr, a Frederick-based provider at MedExpress. To help parents transition smoothly into a new school year, Dr. Dunn-Kerr shares some of her best school-year resolutions:
School-Year Resolution #1: Keep clean at home and school
“First and foremost, it is important to teach our kids good hygiene practices, including proper hand washing, covering their faces when they cough or sneeze and trying not to share objects as much as possible,” Dr. Dunn-Kerr says. “At home, wipe down surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of illness and always keep your children home when they are sick—even if it is just a runny nose.
School-Year Resolution #2: Make nutrition top of mind
While it might be tempting to send your kids to school with their favorite sugary sweets and salty treats, Dr. Dunn-Kerr recommends considering healthier options. “Nutrition and hydration are key in keeping our kids’ immune systems healthy. Make sure they minimize sugar and have plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.” Consider packing at least one fruit and vegetable in every lunch. Make sure that they are foods your child likes and will actually eat.
School-Year Resolution #3: Help your child cope with COVID-19
While in-person learning might be a welcome change back to “normal” for parents, it can create stress for children who have learned remotely for nearly two years. “It’s important to monitor your children’s mental and emotional health as COVID-19 has increased the rates of depression and anxiety in school-aged children,” Dr. Dunn-Kerr notes. “This is a time to help resocialize and reconnect our children with their friends and classroom learning. Let’s be sure we do it safely!” Strive to take time each week to ask your child how they are handling their school experience and help them navigate new challenges as they arise.
If your child experiences a back-to-school illness, it’s always best to consult a health care professional to help determine what’s causing the illness, especially if further care is needed or if your child may be contagious to his or her classmates.