HMG Health Matters: Preparing kids for a healthy school routine

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TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL)- In this edition of HMG Health Matters, Sara Diamond talks to Holston Medical Group Pediatrician, Dr. Danielle Street to learn more about how to get your child on a healthy back to school schedule after the summer break.

We are in the thick of summer. Late nights, Sleeping in, and maybe a few more treats than normally allowed. It all comes with summertime fun. But, there’s a point when parents have to start thinking ahead to the school year, and doctors at Holston Medical Group say that time is now.

As kids are hitting the pool this summer…parents should start thinking ahead to them hitting the books. Holston Medical Group pediatrician Dr. Danielle Street says the first early step is altering their sleep schedules to get back on school time.

“A lot of kids stay up late and sleep late in the summer,” Dr. Street says. “So, it takes a good month to get back on a good sleep schedule.”

Naturally, a good diet goes along with a good night’s sleep. Dr. Street recommends lots of fruits and vegetables and lean meat, and eating a ratio of 80 to 20.

“80 percent of the time they eat healthy, 20 percent of the time they can have those things that they want,” Street explains.

Street also offers the “5-2-1-0 rule” when it comes to diet and exercise.

“Every child needs five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, they need less than two hours of screen time per day, they need one hour or more of exercise a day, and zero sugary beverages,” she says.

For parents, scheduling a yearly physical sooner instead of later helps beat the rush at the end of the summer. And remember, a sports physical should be secondary to a comprehensive annual physical.

“(In a comprehensive physical) We check hearing, we check vision, we check growth, we check development, we talk about milestones, we talk about depression, risk factors for illnesses, lab work and everything,” she adds.

Those checks are very important, because things can change quickly when kids grow…specifically vision and hearing.

“A big thing in pediatrics is speech delay,” Street says. “And, when you’re dealing with a child who has a speech delay, the first thing you have to check is there a hearing problem.”

As for flu shots, Dr. Street says those should be given in late August or early September. She suggests making an appointment during your child’s annual physical for the fall flu shot.

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