Back to School Health

It’s that time again! This is an exciting time of year for students and families. As students complete their first week of school, it is important to recognize the key health and safety information that will help ensure a great start to the school year.

For more information, visit the CDC’s back to school toolkit website.

7 Things to Tell the Teacher About Your Child

What can you tell a teacher that will help him do his job better? You might be surprised. While your child’s teacher is the expert in education, no one knows more about your child than you do. It’s just as important for parents to tell teachers about issues at home that may affect school performance as it is for teachers to report how children are doing in the classroom.

Students do best when parents and teachers work together as partners. The start of a new school year is a great time to open a dialogue with your child’s teacher. Not sure where to start? Here are seven things teachers wish you would tell them. Sharing this information with a teacher will help her better understand your child’s needs and lay the groundwork for a cooperative relationship throughout the school year.

  1. Health conditions: If your child is diabetic, uses an inhaler, is allergic to peanuts, or has a serious health condition, her teacher should know. It’s also helpful to let the teacher know whether your child has been diagnosed with conditions like ADHD, which may affect behavior and concentration.
  2. Family issues: Fill in the teacher if your family is going through a major change that could affect your child, such as a divorce, a death in the family, or a move. Even if your child seems to have adjusted well, alert teachers so they can watch for behavioral changes.
  3. Personality traits or behavior issues: Maybe your son is painfully shy and is worried about making friends at a new school. Or perhaps your kindergartner has been having tantrums at home and you’re concerned she’ll do the same at school. It’s best to make teachers aware of these issues before they become a problem at school.
  4. Strengths and weaknesses: Your daughter is a star student in math but is embarrassed to read aloud. Your son loves language arts but struggles with science. If you tell teachers these things up front, they’ll have more time to help your children improve in the areas they need it most.
  5. Learning style: You’ve spent years teaching your kids, from potty training to tying shoelaces, so you have a good idea of their learning styles. If your child learns better through hands-on activities than through listening to explanations, mention that to his teacher. Also share any teaching strategies that you’ve found work well with your child.
  6. Study habits: Does your son speed through math homework but labor over reading assignments? Do your daughter’s grades suffer because she spends so much time at skating lessons? Tell teachers about your children’s study habits and any issues they face in completing the work. Teachers often can offer suggestions to make homework time go more smoothly.
  7. Special interests: Knowing more about your child’s hobbies or interests can help the teacher forge connections in the classroom. Let the teacher know that your young son loves a particular comic book superhero and that your middle school daughter is a gifted painter.

This article is reprinted with the permission of School Family Media, and can be found on their website here.

Back to School Shots, Shopping, and More

Preparing for a new school year can be stressful for both kids and parents. Appointments, checklists, and important school deadlines can make it overwhelming. Check out USAGov’s list of tips and resources to start the school year off right.

Avoiding One Word Answers

For parents, back-to-school means many things, including the desire to find out from your child how their first day of school was.  Here are a few tips from the Family Dinner Project that will help you find out more about your child’s day (or whatever information you’re trying to pull out of them). Only you know your child well enough to predict which, if any, of these approaches may help you and your child have more after school conversation.

  • A hungry child is often a silent child. If he’s running on empty, it’s hard to summon the energy to tell stories about school. It may be best to hold all questions until he’s sitting down with a snack.
  • As your day rolls along, try collecting small stories that may interest or amuse your children, like something mischievous the dog did during the day, a funny exchange with a neighbor, or your worry about almost running out of gas. Then, when you reunite with your child, start with a story of your own. This kind of modeling often helps get the ball rolling, and means that you are offering something before asking for something.
  • Keep a  “map” in your head of what you know about your child’s day-to-day world, and ask questions that show you’ve been paying attention. After all, there’s nothing more maddening than answering the same question every day. Instead, ask a question that starts by showing that the details of your child’s life matter enough for you to have remembered them. For example, “I know that today was your first music class, what was it like?” Or, “ Did you have a chance to play tag again at recess, like you did yesterday? Whom did you play with today?”
  • Or, take a break from asking questions, and instead wonder out loud about parts of your child’s day without asking anything. “At noon today I was thinking about you because I knew you were taking your first test, and I was hoping that all the studying you did last night made you feel confident.” Then, just be quiet, and see if your child adds on to what you’ve started.
  • Ask some questions that only require one-word answers, but not necessarily just yes or no. For example, “What did you like better today, math or reading?” “Who was most fun to play with today? And then who?” Sometimes, kids realize that they are offering information anyway, and decide to fill in more of the details.

Check out the Family Dinner Project for additional tips on how to engage your children in meaningful conversation at dinner and throughout the day.

Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday August 5-7, 2016

Florida shoppers will get a three-day back-to-school tax holiday under a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

Shoppers won’t pay sales tax on clothes worth $60 or less and on school supplies worth $15 or less. The tax holiday runs Aug. 5 through Aug. 7.

Legislators scaled back this year’s tax holiday. Last year, shoppers got a 10-day holiday. Legislators also eliminated computers from the tax break and reduced the value of clothes that can be purchased tax free.

Up to $60 each. Florida legislators were a little more generous than years past. Garments and accessories are tax free up to $60 each. In 2013, the exemption stopped at $75 per piece.

Up to $60 per pair. Shoes are eligible for the tax exemption. As with clothing, however, only footwear costing less than $60 per pair will ring up tax-free.

Up to $15 each.  Sales tax will not be charged on items such as pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, and glue. The state set a price limit of $15 per item for this category, but left off items such as staplers and computer paper.

Personal computers and computer accessories are no longer subject to Florida Sales Tax Holiday.

All books, besides the Bible, are still taxable during the Florida Sales Tax Holiday 2016.

But not all.  Lawmakers love tourists, but they did not want to give visitors a tax break. So, sales tax will still apply to purchases made in theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, and airports.

To your door

Choosing a Backpack for Your Child

Your child’s school backpack will probably be the hardest-working item in your back to school shopping. The backpack will be used every day to take items to and from school. It needs to withstand daily use including traveling to and from school, locker storage, and the rough treatment that children dish out on their belongings.

Quality Counts in Backpacks

To look for a quality backpack, Consumer Reports magazine suggests you look over the backpack, inside and out, and keep an eye on the following:

  • Loose, uneven or careless stitching that could easily come undone.
  • Raw or frayed fabric edges which could unravel.
  • Zippers that are openly exposed to weather. Instead, opt for zippers that have fabric flaps over them to keep water and other elements out of the backpack.

A Backpack Needs to Fit Properly

Backpacks that do not fit properly, or are used incorrectly, have the potential to cause back and shoulder strain or pain.

To find a backpack with the proper fit, follow these tips:

  • Choose the proper size: The width of a backpack should be relatively proportionate to the person’s width. For instance, a small child should not opt for an adult-sized backpack. Further, the backpack’s height should extend from approximately two inches below the shoulder blades to waist level, or just slightly above the waist.
  • Straps are important features: Consider broad straps with padding for the shoulder, both to offer more comfort, and protect the shoulders from excessive pressure. Adjustable straps are useful, not just for proper fit but for proper positioning – again, the backpack should sit just slightly above the waist and both straps should stay even in length.
  • Evenly distribute the weight: Consider backpacks that offer pockets, slots and dividers to help evenly distribute extra weight. Heavier items should be placed closer to the person’s back, within the pack. Lighter items may sit further from the body.
  • Don’t over pack: The backpack, as well as its contents, shouldn’t total more than 15% of a person’s weight: A 100-pound child’s filled backpack shouldn’t exceed 15 pounds, while a 60-pound child shouldn’t carry more than 9 pounds.

Some backpacks offer chest or waist straps designed to help distribute weight. It is important to make sure that these straps sit properly on your child. If they do not sit properly on your child, they will not help distribute weight and may even lead to discomfort.

  • A hip belt should wrap around your child’s hips.
  • A chest strap should be adjusted to bring the shoulder straps in so the arms can move freely.
  • The height of the chest strap should be placed where it is the most comfortable for the child.


Hope Now International’s Back 2 School Bash


Join Hope Now International for their annual Back 2 School Bash.  The event will take place on Aug. 6 from 10 am – 1 pm at Camping World Stadium (formerly the Citrus Bowl).

The following free services and supplies will be available:

  • Back Packs
  • School Supplies
  • Dental Screenings
  • Health Screenings
  • Hair Cuts

For over a decade, Hope Now International has served Central Florida students and their families by providing school supplies, backpacks, haircuts, vision screenings, dental screenings, health screenings, nutrition and resource advocates.

Hope Now International is a 100% volunteer organization, there is no paid staff. The first Back 2 School Bash took place in an orange county elementary school in 1995. At that time it was not the Back 2 School Bash it was simply a group of “Do Gooders” coming together to help some kids that needed a hand up. At the initial event the volunteer group was able to acquire approximately 50 backpacks with supplies and constructed a make shift mobile immunization area. The response and attendance was so overwhelming, that the volunteer group decided to continue organizing the event. The volunteer group created what is know today as the non-profit Hope Now International, a 501c3 certified organization. Although the Back 2 School Bash has grown exponentially, the purpose remains the same; to help and care for those who cannot help themselves.

Free Back to School Physicals

In need of a school physical for your child?  The following resources are available in our community:

Shepherd’s Hope’s Free Back to School Physicals for the Uninsured


  • Children up to 18 years of age welcome
  • Must be uninsured and have no other options
  • Appointments necessary

Wednesday, August 3, 9 a.m. to noon
Thursday, August 4, 9 a.m. to noon
Monday, August 8, 9 a.m. to noon

The Sharing Center Plaza
600 N. US 17-92, #124, Longwood, FL 32750
How: Call (407) 876-6699 x 243 Appointments Required

Thursday, August 4, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday, August 11, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday, August 25, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Samaritan Resource Center
9833 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32817
How:  Call (407) 876-6699 x 247 Appointments Required

View the 2016 Shepherd’s Hope Back to School Physicals Flyer



Free healthcare is available for Orange County Public Schools students this summer at the school based health centers listed below. Services include school entry, sports physical and Special Olympics physicals, as well as sick visits for diagnosis and treatment of illness and injury, including prescriptions.  All healthcare services are provided by nurse practitioners.

  • Services are by appointment only
  • Students must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
  • Please bring most recent immunization records to your appointment

Walker Middle School
150 Amadon Lane
Orlando, FL 32809
Dates of Service: August 1, 4, 8, 11

Services at Walker Middle School are provided through a cooperative effort of Healthcare Providers of Florida, Orange County Public Schools, and the Orange County Citizen’s Commission for Children

Glenridge Middle School
2900 Upper Park Rd.
Orlando, FL 32814
407-623-1415 ext. 5072245
Services available beginning Aug. 8

Winter Park High School
2100 Summerfield Rd
Winter Park, FL 32792
call 407-622-3200 ext. 6182437
Services available beginning Aug. 8

Services at Glenridge Middle School and Winter Park High School School Based Health Centers are available to any student and/or siblings from these schools:


  • Aloma
  • Audubon Park
  • Brookshire
  • Cheney
  • Dommerich
  • Hungerford
  • Lakemont
  • Lake Sybelia


  • Glenridge
  • Maitland


  • Winter Park 9th Grade Center
  • Winter Park

Services at Glenridge Middle School and Winter Park High School School Based Health Centers are provided through the financial support of The Winter Park Health Foundation in partnership with Healthcare Providers of Florida.

A Healthy and Happy Transition Back to School

Going back to school means a transition from the generally laid back summer days to more structured school days.  It can also mean added stress for students and a need for increased awareness from parents.

Here a few tips we’ve gathered to help you and your kids experience a healthy and happy transition back to school:


Boy_with_headacheBack to school may mean an increase in headaches for your child.  This can be a result of a change in their bedtime routine, increased academic stress, too much screen time, not enough exercise and more.  To decrease the likelihood of your child having headaches, makes sure they do the following:

Get enough sleep (sleep guidelines by age group can be found here)

No more than two hours of daily screen time (screen time guidelines for children can be found here)

Stay hydrated (tips to prevent dehydration in children can be found here)

Move 60 minutes/day (tips for kids’ physical activity can be found here)

For additional information on back to school related headaches, click here.


Backpack Safety

Three kindergarten girls standing togetherBackpacks are a necessity for students to carry their books, papers, and other school essentials.  However, a heavy backpack can cause injury to students.  Most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.

For additional information on backpack safety, click here



School Breakfast and Lunch

device-nuggets-htc-dnaWant to know what options are available to your student through their school’s breakfast and/or lunch program?  Check our Orange County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Department’s (OCPS FNS) interactive menus here.  The menus allow the user to look up nutritional makeup of the food item as well as view a picture of the actual food item from OCPS FNS.  This service is also available through the app store here.   Bonus, the app allows parents and students to provide direct feedback to OCPS FNS about the food served in their school.





Stopping for School Buss

Each year, Florida drivers illegally pass school buses nearly two million times. Each illegal pass-by could result in a tragic injury or fatality of a student. The inconvenience of an extra few seconds spent waiting for a stopped school bus is insignificant compared to the loss of a child’s life, which is why Florida’s departments of Education, Transportation, and Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, have teamed up to develop the Stop on Red, Kids Ahead campaign to remind drivers of the laws and safe practices to take when approaching a school bus.


For additional back to school health tips, visit our friends at KidsHealth.

Have a back to school health tip you would like to share with us?  Leave a comment or visit us on Facebook: HealthyKidsTodayMagazine or Twitter:  @HealthyKids2Day

Back to School Tips

UnknownKids often have trouble getting back to their regular school routine after the summer months of playtime and sunshine. Some children may feel nervous before their first day because of all the change that comes with moving on to the next grade level. Luckily these worries are only temporary! These tips from Kids Health will make sure you and your child are prepared to check out of summer and check back into school.


Battling the Butterflies  – Try and transition kids into a consistent school-night routine a week before school starts. Also make sure that they:

  • Get enough hours of sleep
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Write down need-to-know info for classes to help them remember details
  • Have them organize what they need the night before

Back-to-School To-Do’s – To help reduce anxiety for both child and parent, heres a handy checklist:

  • Will kids need a change of clothes for PE or art class?
  • Do your kids know not to overload their backpacks and stow them safely?
  • Will your kids buy lunch at school or bring it from home?
  • Have you stocked up on all of the necessary school supplies?

What About After School? – To ensure kids are safe and entertained, look into programs for after school. Getting involved in these activities:

  • Provides some adult supervision
  • Helps develop kids’ interests and talents
  • Introduces kids to new people and helps develop social skills
  • Keeps kids out of trouble

Helping with Homework – To help kids get back into the after school work swing of things:

  • Make sure there is a distraction free place for them to work in
  • Never do their homework yourself only offer help
  • Don’t let kids watch TV or have their phones while studying
  • Review assignments nightly to make sure they have completed and understand everything

Do you have tips of your own?  Leave them in the comment section below, post them on our Facebook or tweet them to us at@HealthyKids2Day.