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Lifestyles -

August 24, 2013

Local doctor offers tips to make children's transition to school easier

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Parents must be armed with certain information, including a certified birth certificate, custodial information, proof of residency and an immunization record. 

“Before starting kindergarten, children need vaccines to protect them from 14 diseases that can be serious, even life-threatening,” Chan-House said. “Making sure that children of all ages receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure their children’s long-term health — as well as the health of friends, classmates, and others in the community.

“If parents are unsure if their child is up-to-date now is the time to check with the doctor, the school, or the health department. Flu vaccines are also recommended for children in preschool and elementary school to help keep them healthy,” she added.

Chan-House also noted that children with health challenges may face addition stress when going to school or the first time.

“For children with asthma, the back-to-school time can be particularly challenging,” Chan-House said. “Classmates with colds, and classroom allergens can trigger flare-ups for these kids. So before school begins, it’s a good idea for parents to make an appointment with their child’s pediatrician to make sure asthma is well-controlled and that an action plan is in place for problems that happen during the school day.”

Younger children, especially those who have not been in a preschool setting, may cry and cling to a parent or guardian in the first few days of school, but will usually succumb to curiosity and become more comfortable in the setting in a short time, Chan-House explained.

“Separation anxiety is seen in many children to varying degrees,” she said. “It can come in many forms, including crying, clinging, silence or hiding behind a parent. Typically the causes of separation anxiety during the first days of school are two-fold — a child may be uncomfortable being separated from her parent and she may also be uncomfortable about what’s unfamiliar.”

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