Back to School: Staying Healthy All Year Long {by Pam Shriver, PNP}

Back to School
It is that time again! Back- to- school season is here! Students are returning to school, filled with excitement and anticipation of the year ahead.  We may be preparing for the new uniforms, teachers, and grades, but our kids’ health and wellness should be at the top of our list!  Here are a few health-focused tips to make the transition back to school much smoother for you and your kids.

Sleep Schedule: Get Back on Track
The first is for you and your child to get back on a good sleeping schedule.  Notice what time your child is falling asleep. For younger children, you may not have gotten too far off schedule. However, for older children and teenagers it could be into the “wee hours” of the next morning. Get your kids back on track.

Here is a breakdown of the sleep kids need in order to be healthy, alert and ready to learn:

4 – 6 years old

10 – 12 hours

7 -12 years old

10 – 11 hours

12 – 18 years old

8 – 9 hours

After determining how much sleep your children need, decide what time they will need to get up on a school morning to be on time for school or to catch the bus. By counting the hours of sleep needed backward from the wake-up time, you can calculate what bedtime will allow for the appropriate hours of sleep each night. Begin now to make their bedtime 30 minutes earlier each night until you are at the magic bedtime hour. Well-rested is a great way to start the new school year and will give their bodies energy for longer, busier days!

Time to Immunize
The second thing that can be taken care of now, as the school year kicks off, is immunizations. Don’t let your child be the one sent home with a note stating they can’t return until their vaccines are up to date! Here is a breakdown of what is needed:

4 – 6 years old

Dtap (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus)

IPV (Polio)

MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella)

Varicella (Chicken pox)

11 years old

Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)


HPV (Human papilloma virus)

(Recommended for both boys and girls, but not required)

16 – 18 years old


Let’s Get Physical
Will your child be playing sports this year? Then they may need a Sports Physical. A physical done now is good for the entire school year. So, if you know, or even think that your child may be interested in joining a team this year, beat the rush and schedule that appointment now. Be sure to download the physical form from your school’s website and bring it to the appointment with you. Be prepared so your athlete will be off to a great start this season!

Happy Back-to-school!

About the Author

PShriverPam Shriver, PNP

Pam is a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has practiced in the Baton Rouge area for 21 years. She’s the mother of 3 teenagers who keep her quite busy! Pam provides care for newborns through college age kids, offers breastfeeding support as a breastfeeding educator, as well as treats ADD/ADHD. As an expert in her field, she is recognized as a primary care provider for most insurance plans and practices independently at her clinic in Baton Rouge. She works alongside pediatric specialists at the Children’s Hospital Outpatient Clinic allowing easy access to all the services that Children’s Hospital has to offer. For appointments, please call 225-216-5988.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog post is for informational purposes only, and should not be used to replace the relationship that exists between you and your child’s healthcare provider. Please contact a healthcare provider for specific medical advice and/or treatment recommendations. For any of your pediatric health care needs, you can contact Pam Shriver, PNP at Children’s Pediatrics. Address: 720 Connell’s Park Lane, Baton Rouge 70806. For appointments, please call 225-216-5988.


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