This article was last updated on August 4, 2020.
It may be hard to believe, but summer is winding down and the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Because we're still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, your back-to-school plans may look a little different this year. But, whether your plans include your kids at home, in a school building or a combination of the two, there's no better time than now to start the school year on the right foot.
To get ready for the year ahead, you’ve probably been busy stocking up on new clothes, pens, pencils and notebooks. But ask yourself this question: Does your checklist include more than just gadgets and gear? Does it include tips to help you and your kids get ready to take on the new school year?
If not, download this five-tip checklist.
Get back-to-school ready with these five quick tips. Check in on your kid's overall health. Make sure those dreaded shots are up-to-date. Start getting into a normal bedtime routine. Encourage healthy food choices. Have your health insurance benefits ready.
Five quick tips to get back-to-school ready
Check in on your kid's overall health.
Schedule an annual physical, get in for a check-up with your dentist and make sure kids can see clearly. Some of these preventive screenings come at no cost to you through your health, dental or vision insurance. Plus, many are actually required for your child to attend school or participate in extracurricular activities. If you’re wondering what’s needed, check with your child’s doctor, the school or your health department.
By the way — what about your health? “While we often think about back-to-school as just for the kids, it’s also the perfect opportunity to take a look at your own health,” says Julie Enga, team leader, employer consulting and well-being services at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. This time of year is a great reminder to schedule any appointments you may have been putting off.
Need help scheduling all these appointments? Call BeWell 24/7SM at Eight, Four, Four, Eight, Four, Be Well.
Make sure those dreaded shots are up-to-date.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention External Site (CDC), vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from harmful diseases. Plus, to keep school kids healthy, some states require certain vaccinations.
Recommendations for what vaccinations are needed and when tend to change. So, talk to your doctor or review these easy-to-read schedules External Site from the CDC to make sure your kids have all the proper shots.
Start getting into a normal bedtime routine.
None of us learn best when sleep-deprived! While your kids’ bedtime might have been a little squishy throughout the summer, don’t let the first day of school be the first alarm clock they’ve heard in weeks.
The National Sleep Foundation External Site says now is the perfect time to return to a school-appropriate sleep schedule. Each night, set a slightly earlier bedtime and in the morning, a slightly earlier wake-up. Once the sleep schedule is established, it’s important to stick with it.
Encourage healthy food choices.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says eating in the morning External Site is linked to helping kids concentrate and do well in school. To make it easy on yourself, have some quick, easy items in the house that’ll set your kids up for success. Maybe put together these egg muffins or protein bars on the weekend and eat them all week, or whip up this trail mix that the whole family can grab and go.
At lunchtime, encourage your children to eat a variety of different foods that fall into the major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. If you’re packing a cold lunch, be sure to invest in an insulated lunch box and frozen ice pack to keep perishable foods cold External Site until lunchtime. Keeping hot foods hot is just as important, so use an insulated container for things like soups.
Have your health insurance benefits ready.
Have kids heading off to college this fall? Make sure their packing list includes their Wellmark ID card. That little card has all the information needed to file a claim if they need services. Need an extra card? Log in to myWellmark® Opens New Window request one.
It's also important to do a little homework ahead of time — especially if your kids are going to school out-of-state. Review your benefits online Opens New Window with myWellmark, or talk to your employer or agent.