Check-in on their diet
Summer holidays are a time when children may have slipped into unhealthy eating habits, so get them back into the routine of eating balanced meals.
A balanced diet contains a mix of lean proteins, wholegrains, fruit, veg and dairy which will ensure they get the nutrients they need for a strong immune system.
If you’re concerned they aren’t eating enough of the good-stuff, think about giving them a child-specific multivitamin.
Make sure it contains a B vitamin, which can help combat tiredness as the days get darker, and will help to boost immunity as they get back to the playground and are exposed to all those autumn sniffles. Riboflavin – vitamin B2 – is good for eyesight and problems here can lead to headaches and difficultly concentrating.
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The eyes have it
With only 19 per cent of children having their eyes checked, eye-exam rates among children are the lowest they’ve been for 10 years – keep on top of this as bad eyesight can have a knock on effect as to how much your kids learn.
It’s recommended by the NHS that children’s eyes are tested every two years – even more often if they wear glasses, or if there is a family history of eye disease.
A whopping quarter of kids starting primary school in England have dental decay, so a trip to the dentists is top priority. They need to have their teeth examined every six months, and now is the time to teach them good dental hygiene habits.
Children should be brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. You can make this fun for younger ones by using a two-minute sand timer – try to pick something colourful or in a wacky shape or character and let them flip it over and start brushing. And make sure you replace their toothbrush every four months or as soon as the bristles start to fray.
Is your child experiencing asthma? (There’s 1.1 million who are in the UK today). Signs include a cough that won’t go away or keeps coming back, a night time or early morning cough, or a cough after doing exercise or being active, a whistling sound when they breathe, or repeatedly rubbing their tummy or chest.
It’s important to get asthma in children diagnosed as soon as possible and make sure the asthma nurse shows them how to use their inhalers correctly.
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Make a plan
If your child is one of the 50 per cent who live with an allergy, you need to draw up an action plan to be shared with the school and your child’s teacher, just in case the worst happens.
Kids who are at risk of anaphylactic shock should carry an adrenalin injection and make sure everybody is aware where it’s kept.
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Check all your child’s vaccinations are up to date.
They should have had two measles, mumps and rubella jabs by the time they start school. If you’re not sure if your child has received these, give your surgery a call.
You can also get a free flu vaccine for children aged between two and 17 years. Your child’s GP or school should contact you about getting them vaccinated before the winter, so if you haven’t heard from them, chase them up!
Not to be sniffled at
While the majority of winter bugs won’t appear until close to winter, some children will come home with coughs and colds immediately.
Don’t panic if your child DOES pick up a few sniffles at the beginning of term – it’s all good as they need to build up immunity to new bugs.
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