Monday, August 08, 2011

Top 10 healthy tips to get your kids ready for back-to-school #transitionslenses

August is the perfect time to take care of those last minute preparations for back-to-school.  I'm talking about more than just shopping for supplies, clothes, shoes, and the perfect backpack.  Back-to-school this year means back to the eye doctor!  Did you know that one in four children have an undetected vision problem?  Don't think that one child can't be yours!  Last year, that child was mine.  And trust me, I was the last person to know that he was even having a vision problem.

Transition Lenses and SocialMoms have teamed up with bloggers to have us share our 10 healthy tips to get your kids ready for back-to-school.

1.   August means I'll be taking my son back to the eye doctor to get his eyes re-examined.  Last year was the first year he wore glasses and I want to make sure that his vision is crisp and clear on that first day of school.  Children who have vision problems can wander off task or not follow along (especially things written on the board).  Make sure your child receives a vision exam before Kindergarten and preferably every year thereafter.  Vision can change within the space of a year, as we found out the hard way.

2.  Does your child need sports physicals?  Now is a great time to schedule them to avoid that last minute crunch right before schools.  Plan this a month in advance or more if you are able since doctor's offices literally get descended upon at the last minute.  Your doctor may charge extra for a rush fee - so save your bucks and schedule early.

3.  Plan your menus if you don't already.  If your school has placed their school menu up online, print it out and hang it on the fridge.  This will help you plan your meals and help avoid foods repeating too often (think pizza two meals in a row).  Knowing what's for lunch the first week of school will help you plan out healthy lunch options if what is being served is not what your child prefers to eat.

4.  Bye-bye screens!  Oh, how sad my children will be once I severely cut back their screen time this month.  I intend to scale back their TV, computer, and iPod time so that once they get back-to-school, they won't be used to having their technology items close at hand.  I'm hoping their teachers appreciate my efforts!

5. Back to a reasonable bedtime too!  They'll be even sadder once they start adhering to the school year bedtime rules again.  They've been staying up later this summer and a few weeks before school, we'll be getting them back into the cycle they need to be in for school.  That means a 7:30-8 PM bedtime and not 9:30-10 PM.

6.  More exercise.  This summer has been so hot with perpetual heat advisories that we haven't been able to play outside a lot during the day.  Now that the weather is cooling down a little bit, we are planning to focus on more regular outdoor activities like bike riding and walking.  This way, they won't be groaning when their gym teacher tells them to run laps.

7.  Dental visits during the summer.  I was fortunate that it worked out that my children's dental cleanings were scheduled for the end of June.  This means that their next appointment will be around the holidays, but that's something we can work around.  It also means that instead of taking my kids out of school twice a year for dental visits, I will only have to do it once this year.  If your dentist can squeeze you in and your kids are overdue, take them in for their cleaning this month.

8.   Kleenex!  Kleenex is almost always on the kids' school supply list.   Even though the teacher may ask for a box or two, consider sending in a multipack or multiple boxes if you can afford the extra expense.  School means germy kids all back together in one room.  Now is a good time to refresh your young child's memory on the proper way to use a tissue and how to sneeze/cough into your elbow.  Also a great topic to go over again is hand washing.  Kids tend to forget their school manners over the summer, so give them a refresher course.

9.  Another great tip for back-to-school health is to go over the hat/hair/comb rules.  Back-to-school also means back to lice!  You don't want that pest in your home and it's a lot of work and money to kill them, wash everything, etc.  Lice is the word no mom ever wants to hear!  Explain to your children that we don't share hats, brushes, combs, barrette's, headbands, etc.  Also, keep a close eye on your children's hair in the first few weeks of school.  If your child has lice, make sure you let the school know.  They'll do headchecks and hopefully your honesty will have saved another mom a lot of work.

10.  Finally, round up emergency contacts before that emergency contact request comes home.  Ask friends and relatives if they mind if you list them, obtain current phone numbers, and reciprocate!  Living 2-3 hours away from my nearest blood relative means that I have to rely on my friends for favors such as picking up a sick kid from school if I or my husband aren't able to do so.  I've done it for a friend (who just happened to be in the dentist chair at the time the school called; her husband was deployed), so I know how much it means to have a friend you can impose upon if needed.  Get your emergency contacts lined up and discuss any health issues your child might have with them.  A dear friend has listed me as a contact, and she made sure that I knew about her child's food allergy.  If she or her husband aren't available, I'll know exactly what I need to do.

Do you have any great tips to share with me and other moms who read Making Ends Meet?  Please leave your tips below in comments.  I'd love to hear your tips and even try them out.  As a parent, I want my children to be happy and healthy.  I want this new school year to start off on the right foot so that my children can have the best school year possible.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Transitions Lenses blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

About Transitions Optical, Inc., the sponsor of this post
Transitions Optical is a joint venture of PPG Industries, Inc. and Essilor International.  The first to successfully commercialize a plastic photochromic lens in 1990, today the company is a leading provider of photochromics to optical manufacturers worldwide.  Transitions Optical offers the most advanced photochromic technology in the widest selection of lens designs, materials and brand names.

Transitions® lenses are the ideal everyday choice for healthy sight.  They are clear indoors and at night. Outdoors, they automatically darken as light conditions change.  Transitions lenses provide visual comfort, and enhance visual quality by reducing glare and enhancing contrast, helping you to see better today. Transitions lenses block 100 percent of harmful UVA and UVB rays – helping to protect the health and wellness of your eyes – so you can see better tomorrow as well. More info on Transitions Lenses: www.transitions.com

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