Leading Physicians at Allegheny Health Network Offer Top Five Pieces of Advice for Children Returning to the Classroom
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 30, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Pediatricians across Allegheny Health Network (AHN) are providing local families helpful guidance as they begin preparations for this year's school season. With topics ranging from the importance of wellness visits to emotional support and adequate nutrition, AHN physicians have compiled a list of top-line advice for parents gearing up for the inherently chaotic back-to-school season.
"This year's back-to-school season is especially significant as many children have endured inconsistent routines and schedules for nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Joseph Aracri, DO and assistant chair of the AHN Pediatric Institute. "On behalf of the entire team of pediatricians at Allegheny Health Network, we're extremely excited for the kids to get back into the classroom on a regular basis and we look forward to working closely with our families to take care of their children and equip them with all the necessary tools and resources as they navigate this upcoming school year."
Here are the top five pieces of advice offered from Dr. Aracri and his leading AHN team:
- Ensure children are up-to-date with routine physicals and vaccinations: Now is the time to schedule appointments with your pediatrician of record to make sure your child's physical, mental and emotional health needs are met before they begin the school year. Since the start of the pandemic, many families have postponed their wellness visits and as a result, have fallen behind on their vaccination schedules. Now is an ideal opportunity to get caught up on shots, including the Flu and COVID-19 vaccines, as these are vital in mitigating the risk of infectious disease spread throughout academic and extracurricular environments.
- Encourage involvement in extracurricular sports and activities: Stay in tune with your children's passions and interests and encourage them to pursue aligned activities that also promote socialization with their peers. Health benefits of organized sports, in particular, include improved mental and cardiovascular health as well as decreased risk of obesity and feelings of isolation. In addition, stay in communication with your pediatrician when it comes to child athletes who may sustain minor to severe injuries when getting back onto the field, rink or court.
- Emphasize the importance of a balanced diet: When preparing dinner, lunches or meals on-the-go, it's good to incorporate lean proteins, hearty complex carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables that will keep children full for longer periods throughout the day. Snacks are also important to have on-hand to keep kids sustained between meals. For pickier eaters, put them in the driver seat by accepting their food aversions but requesting they replace them with something comparable. As many children receive their lunches at school, however, do what you can to get information on the daily menus and supplement any lacking food groups at home, when you can.
- Discuss emotional well-being, often: While most school districts have restored a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, mental and emotional health impacts from remote learning (i.e., isolation, loneliness and anxiety) may remain. For some children, they may have missed fundamental years of socialization by staying at home which can cause heightened anxiety this school year. Both at home and at school, encourage your children to share their feelings with you, their guidance counselors, school nurses and/or educators and normalize that conversation. If anxiety or depression persists, speak with your pediatrician about the many resources available.
- Get sleep back on track: Good sleep hygiene for children is critical for success in the classroom. To help achieve the proper amount of sleep for the entire family, it's important to establish a bedtime and wake-up routine at least a week before school begins. In addition, parents can implement a relaxing pre-bedtime routine, phase out electronic devices with a 'media curfew' and encourage exercise to promote a good night's rest, among other measures.
"Communicating on behalf of your children with your pediatrician, early and often, is vital when it comes to establishing a solid foundation of health, wellness and development," continued Dr. Aracri. "The back-to-school season is an excellent time to make an appointment for your children and our practices throughout the western Pennsylvania region are eager and available to meet your family's health needs."
AHN Pediatric Institute is one of the area's largest pediatric practices in the region. To make an appointment, please visit http://www.ahn.org
About the Allegheny Health Network:
Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org), is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is composed of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, multiple employed physician organizations, home and community based health services, a research institute, and a group purchasing organization. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, trauma care, cardiovascular disease, organ transplantation, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women's health, diabetes, autoimmune disease and more. AHN employs approximately 21,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Nikki Buccina, Allegheny Health Network, 412-596-2679, [email protected]
SOURCE Allegheny Health Network