By Dr. Duane Wooten, MD at Bayless Healthcare

No. 2 pencils? Check.

Three-ring binders? Check.

Notebooks? Check.

Sure, you’ve got your school supplies covered–those are easy–but what about establishing healthy habits?

Between haircuts, school clothes and making lunches, the importance of developing healthy habits before heading back to school can often be forgotten.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many health risk behaviors are established in childhood and early adolescence.

So, parents now is the perfect to time to talk to your young ones about establishing healthy habits that will help them stay healthier not only this year but for the rest of their lives.

For starters, learning about annual check-ups.

Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students—especially those that are young in age. Children ages 4 to 6 years old are required to have boosters of four vaccines: DTaP, chickenpox, MMR and polio. While preteens and teenagers are generally encouraged to get a series of other vaccines, such as HPV and flu to name a few.

According to Bayless Healthcare, unvaccinated children are at increased risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough.

So, making sure that children of all ages receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to ensure your children’s long-term health—as well as the health of friends, classmates, and others in your community.

Equally are hearing and visions checks.

While these often go overlooked, they aren’t to be forgotten about. Make it a habit to have your teen’s vision tested each year. In addition, hearing health experts also recommend not just having your children’s hearing tested regularly but also teaching them the signs of a hearing loss.

The transition back-to-school can be hard for some. While health check-ups are important, parents shouldn’t forget to talk to their children and teens about other health aspects such as being active, maintaining a healthy diet, getting a good night’s rest and effective ways to cope with stress.

By talking to and being involved with your children and teens, you can teach them how to manage their stress and reinforce the importance of making healthy decisions.

Sure, the transition back-to-school can be a difficult one for both teens and parents. But with time management and by maintaining a healthy home-life, parents can send their teens back-to-school happy, healthy and well prepared.

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