Manning Regional Healthcare Center
Children’s Health is Top Priority as School Starts
Manning Regional Healthcare Center wants to remind parents and caregivers to keep an eye on their children’s physical, mental, social and nutritional health as they prepare to return to school.
“We’re not just talking about their physical health,” shared Shelby Dickson, RN, Family Practice Clinic director. “We need to keep an eye on their social, emotional and nutritional health as they make these important transitions back to the classroom. Things will be different for them and these changes may be difficult for some children.”
A child’s mental well-being is a key aspect of their overall health. Not being able to see friends as well as having routines change drastically can be difficult. Getting children into a routine will make going back to school an easier transition from summer. School may feel quite different for them this year, so it is important to check in with them often. MRHC encourages parents to talk to their children and families to find healthy ways to connect and relieve stress during these transitions.
A child’s social health is also important for appropriate growth and development. They likely did not have a normal summer routine spent with friends and extended family members. With school quickly approaching they may either be anxious or excited about seeing their friends on a daily basis again. Encourage them to explore their interests with friends. The amount of social interaction they receive may be less than normal, so it is vital to find outlets for them to socialize safely. Talk to them about the importance of appropriate social distancing, hand hygiene and other guidelines.
Children’s nutritional health needs to be a top priority as well. Children should eat healthy, well balanced meals following MyPlate guidelines. Meals need to have a variety of foods from different food groups, half of the plate should be fruits and vegetables and at least half of their grain servings should be whole grains. Consider fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and water instead of sugary drinks and avoid large portions.
A great way to ensure that children are growing and developing appropriately is to complete a well-child exam with their primary care provider. Children will receive necessary vaccinations and their provider will discuss behaviors, school issues and proper nutrition. A well-child exam also includes reviewing immunization records, past history and family history. To further ensure children are physically healthy, it is important to limit screen time and ensure that children are being active for at least an hour every day and getting at least nine hours or more of sleep every night.
To schedule a well-child exam at MRHC or talk to a provider about any health concerns of a child, call Manning Regional Healthcare Center at (712) 655-2072.