6 on Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Healthy Back to School

(ABC 6 NEWS) – It’s back-to-school season and there’s lots to do to get your kids ready and stick to a healthy routine once they’re in session.

After a long, leisurely summer, you can help to ensure that kids feel and perform their best throughout the school year with this checklist from Consumer Reports.

Summer slumber habits should be reined in about two weeks prior to school starting. Begin setting alarms back about 15 minutes earlier each night, until they reach sleep and wakeup times that work for school.

"Personal devices should be turned off well before bedtime. Smartphones, tablets and laptops emit blue light, which can disturb kids sleep patterns," Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor said.

Next–a shot in the arm.

Your child’s school likely requires proof of up-to-date immunizations. Kids entering elementary school may need shots against polio, chickenpox, and other diseases, while those entering middle school or high school might need the meningococcal vaccine—which prevents meningitis—as well as the HPV vaccine, which prevents certain cancers.

Everyone eligible should also get a flu shot by the end of October, and the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

If your kids are anxious about starting the new school year, and if they’ll be going into a new building, plan a visit before the first day to ease anxiety.

Hand washing can prevent about 20 percent of respiratory infections. So give them a reminder lesson on how and when to wash.

"They’ll have a new routine at school – so remind them to wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at key times like after bathroom breaks, before lunch, or after playing outside," Roberts said.

Boost your child’s health by sending them to school with healthy lunches. Mixing things up with a whole-grain item, a protein, a fruit or veggie and a dairy all packed in an interesting way will make it more likely they’ll eat it.