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Five back to school health tips

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 01-09-2010

Back to school time usually coincides with health notices, increased awareness of lice, and for some, a reminder to get a flu shot. If you’re not on the way to the doctor’s office this fall, here is a list of things your doc still wishes were on top of mind for your preschooler:

1. Don’t make the doctor out to be the bad guy. If you warn your child all year long that he’ll “have to go to the doctor and get a shot” when ever you are trying to enforce a rule, your child will be extra worried about those doctor visits, making them unpleasant for everyone.

2. To avoid sickness, use soap and water. This little trick, that even your grandmother knew, is the first line of defense for little hands that seems to go everywhere now that your child’s social circle has increased in size.

3. Keep the helmet on. Even if your child isn’t yet riding a big kid’s bike, a helmet is still needed for scooter riding, even in the driveway.

4. Turn off the TV and talk to your child. In a study of 275 families led by Dr. Frederick J. Zimmerman of the University of California Los Angeles published in 2009, researchers found that parents’ willingness to talk to their kids was as important for language development as reading and storytelling.

5. Don’t make toilet training into a childhood trauma. Too many parents want their child trained by age 2 no matter what the cost. Some kids aren’t ready until age 4, so you’ll have to figure out when your child is ready. And, that won’t be by fighting about it or chasing him or her around asking if if it’s time to go.

These steps will go a long way in preventing a trip to visit the doctor before your next scheduled checkup.