Back-to-School Tips from The Mount Sinai Hospital

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Pediatric Experts Advise How to Prepare Kids for a Healthy School Year

Experts from The Mount Sinai Hospital offer health tips to parents on how to get their kids ready for the classroom.

Experts Available for Interview
Alfin Vicencio, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Pulmonary and Critical Care at the Icahn School of Medicine and Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology at the Kravis Children's Hospital

Caroline Martinez, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine and Behavioral Specialist in the Division of Behavioral and Developmental Health in the Department of Pediatrics at the Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai

Erica Brody, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine and Pediatrician in the Department of Pediatrics at the Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai

Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Physician-in-Chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital.


  • Re-establish Bedtime. With a new school year comes a new curfew. Establish a bedtime to help kids adjust to their new school schedule. “Ensuring optimal sleep is essential for brain functioning. It ranges for each stage of childhood: preschoolers require 10-12 hours of sleep, elementary/middle school kids need around 10-11 hours, and teens should be getting 9 hours or more,” says Dr. Martinez.
  • Pre-pack healthy snacks and lunches. Allow children to actively participate in preparing their lunch meals. “Educate your child early starting at ages 3-5 years old about good and poor nutritional food choices,” says cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster. “Always incorporate colorful fruits and vegetables, and in addition water into your child’s daily meals. Also, avoid giving children access to foods with excessive fat, sugar, and salt.” Also, Dr. Fuster urges parents to promote the importance of heart health by encouraging daily physical activity during recess and after school.
  • Schedule a Checkup. “As flu shots are around the corner, it’s the perfect time to schedule a physical and catch up on any missing immunizations,” says Dr. Brody. Contact your pediatrician’s office to check your child’s shots are up-to-date and to find out if there are any new ones needed.
  • Keep Kids Organized. “Buy a planner to help your child keep track of assignments and events,” says Dr. Martinez. “Help prioritize work by creating to do lists.” She notes that mobile apps can be useful in motivating homework initiation and persistence such as ones that provide timers.
  • Inform the school nurse of any daily medications or allergies. Daily medications, health problems and/or physical restrictions should be brought to the attention of school nurses and teachers. Two important examples include asthma and allergies. “We advise children suffering from asthma to see their doctors in case therapies need to be optimized,” says Dr. Alvin Vicencio.

About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community‐based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12‐minority‐owned free‐standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

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