Summer vacation is nearing its end and the school year is almost here.
It’s the time of year when students wonder where the season went,
and parents look ahead to the ‘normal’ routine.
The school year may look different this year due to COVID-19, but there
are still steps parents can take to help children have successful and
healthy school years. Whether going to class in person or virtually, making
an appointment for back-to-school check-ups, making sleep a priority,
and assessing children’s mental health are just a few ways you can
support your favorite students this school year.
As August speeds by, it is a great time to make appointments for back-to-school
checkups with your children’s primary care provider. These checkups
allow the provider to re-evaluate and update your child’s medical
history, refill needed medications, update immunizations, and assess cognitive
and physical development.
“Every year, summer slips away from us quicker than we expect, so
it’s definitely not too early to get your kids and teens in for
their back to school check-ups,” says Mile Bluff pediatrician,Dr. Ryan Plamann. “I know some parents have put off routine visits due to COVID,
but with steps that we are taking here at Mile Bluff, I feel confident
that we are doing the best job we can to keep our kids safe for these
Maintaining a regular schedule of these ‘well visits’ can also
help your child develop a trusting relationship with their healthcare
provider. This will enhance continuity of care, ease a child’s anxiety
about going to the doctor, and helps established a baseline of information
about your child’s health
Doctor Plamann knows how quickly children change and grow. “It is
so important to have that regular visit to ensure your child is healthy,
developing normally and up-to-date in all the important vaccines we give,”
explains Dr. Plamann.
In addition to back-to-school check-ups, sports physicals are also recommended
for any student taking to the athletic field or court. All of this helps
to prepare children for a healthy start to the school year.
As they eagerly pick out schools supplies, children may also be experiencing
nervousness or anxiety about changing teachers, schools and reconnecting
with friends. This can occur at any age.
“There is a lot to be anxious about in our world these days. But
even before COVID, transitions into school, either for the first time
or to another level, were and are stressful for our children,” says
If your child seems nervous about the school year, ask them what they are
worried about and help them problem solve ways to master the new situation.
Instead of focusing on the worries or discrediting your child’s
concerns, focus on the positives of starting school to create a positive
outlook for the first day of class. Your child will see old friends and
meet new ones. Talk with your child about the great experiences he or
she may have had in the past at school or with other groups of children.
In a world with COVID-19 concerns, children, parents, and school staff
will be adjusting to a school year that abides by safety precautions.
Whether that is extra hand washing, wearing a mask in class, or limiting
the amount of physical interactions, there are positive steps you can
help your children mentally prepare for the year ahead.
As a healthcare provider, Dr. Plamann has witnessed how quickly COVID-19
changes health recommendations, but also feels confident in our local
resources. “It is hard to predict what this school year will look
like,” says Dr. Plamann. “I know first-hand by talking with
people at all of our Juneau County school districts that a lot of smart
people are working hard on keeping our children safe. I think we have
to all do our best to make this school year safe and productive. We can
closely follow recommendation from the local healthy department, the CDC
and our state government to make sure we are using best practices to control
the spread of COVID-19.”
Make sleep a priority
Summer activities and antics often lead to later bedtimes for children.
As the school year quickly approaches, returning children to their “normal”
bedtime may make the transition smoother for kids.
“Now is the time to get our children back in the proper sleep routine
for school,” encourages Dr. Plamann. “A well rested child
is a happy and productive student!”
All children need proper sleep each night, no matter what their age. Experts
recommend that elementary age kids get nine to 11 hours of sleep a night;
and middle to high school age kids between 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night.
“Poor sleep leads to poor attention, lower energy levels, and worse
school performance. Make sure that all electronics are off at least 30
minutes and if possible at least an hour before bedtime,” says Dr.
Plamann. “Take that last time of the day to have a healthy sleep
routine that includes getting ready for bed, brushing the teeth and some
quality family time. Also reading before bed is an excellent way to wind
down from the day and quietly engage our minds before sleep.”
To prepare for the school year, consider starting your children on their
‘school time’ sleep schedule at least two weeks before the
first day of school. Not only will this help kids get fall back into the
routine, the extra sleep may make the transition into the school year
a little smoother.
Before your student hits the books, be sure to help them enjoy the last
few moments of summer vacation. If you have questions about preparing
your students of school, or would like to schedule a back-to-school check-up,
providers like Dr. Plamann are currently accepting new patients. To make
an appointment with a healthcare provider, call one of the numbers below.
Delton Family Medical Center:
Elroy Family Medical Center:
Mile Bluff Clinic:
Necedah Family Medical Center:
New Lisbon Family Medical Center:
Sources – John Hopkins Medicine, HealthChildren.org