When you’re off on holiday to somewhere exotic you’ll have to ensure your kids have all the required jabs to avoid picking up any nasties. But do you prepare them for the new school term in the same way?
Eye tests aren’t just for when you get older – under 16s are entitled to a free NHS eye test, available at most opticians. It’s good practice for kids to get their eyes tested every two years to catch any problems before they start causing other health issues – like headaches.
If your child needs help, spectacles are not the only option – there are some pretty robust contact lenses available that are scratch resistant and reflection free that will stand up to the rough and tumble of school life.
What was that?
Most children who have serious hearing problems are spotted as babies, but ear infections can cause all kinds of problems. Some children need grommets inserting or suffer from a build-up of wax. If your child doesn’t respond to your demands it may not just be that they’re pretending they can’t hear you.
Watch for the signs and if you suspect your child’s hearing isn’t as good as it should be, get it checked. Some opticians have free hearing tests, or your GP should be able to help. If your child has even a slight deterioration in hearing it can affect their grades, they’ll miss or mishear information that they need to succeed.
There are some scary stats around about kids’ teeth. If they’re still sporting their milk teeth, did you know the enamel is up to 50% thinner than adult teeth? Worse still, around a third of kids go back to school at the beginning of a new school year with tooth decay. Make sure you take your children to the dentist and get them checked out regularly – and if you’re one of those people who hate the dentist, it’s time to man up (or woman-up) and set a good example.
You can also get your kids an electric toothbrush to help them keep their pearly whites sparkling.
Prevention is better than cure
It’s easy to assume that kids get all the vitamins they need from their food. But it can be challenging to ensure they get what they need. Vitamins are essential for our bodies to combat infection and a shortage of certain vitamins can result in children missing school, because they catch every bug going.
The key vitamins kids need are:
Vitamin A: This is the one that fights off the bugs and keeps eyes sharp. Good food choices are dairy products, root and green vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, cabbage and broccoli) and mangoes.
Vitamin C: Another boost to the immune system and it helps the body to absorb iron (which it needs too). Get them eating oranges, kiwi, strawberries – and tomatoes, peppers and broccoli.
Vitamin D: If they’ve been out in the sunshine (suitably protected, of course) they’ll have soaked up plenty of Vitamin D. But when the days shorten and the weather turns dismal, they may need to supplement this. Vitamin D helps kids to grow strong bones and teeth, as it promotes the absorption of calcium. There are only a few foods that contain this – eggs and oily fish do, so try to include those in your child’s diet.
You might need to explore vitamin supplements for them if your child is:
- A fussy eater
- A serious player of sports or athletics
- A vegetarian
- Drinking lots of fizzy drinks
- Eating lots of processed foods
Do talk to your doctor first if they take any kind of medication though.