Pediatricians share tips on preparing kids for another unique school year

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Whether its year one or year twelve, the first day of school is a big deal for students.

This is why Northland pediatricians say it is important to ensure they are prepared, especially after a year like last.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge that kids may be nervous as they return to school,” Dr. Sharnell Valentine, pediatrician at Essentia Health said. “They haven’t really had a normal school year in over a year.”

With the school year right around the corner, Valentine recommends parents model positivity.

“Having a positive attitude that it’s going to be a great year,” Valentine said.

She also recommends establishing a routine in the final weeks of summer.

“Get back into the evening routine, the bed time routine, getting up for school. That will be really helpful,” Valentine said.

Dr. Kevin Morgan, a pediatrician at St. Luke’s, recommends parents practice mask wearing with children this summer since most school districts will require them this fall.

“Trying to have them get comfortable with that, where they are not touching it or moving it as much as possible,” Morgan said.

Morgan also recommends encouraging healthy habits like practicing good hand hygiene and having open conversations about thoughts and feelings.

“Checking in on them,” Morgan said. “Even young kids struggle with mood changes and anxiety about things, so just having those conversations on a daily or weekly basis is a good idea.”

Pediatricians are also recommending parents get their children vaccinated for COVID-19 if they are 12 or older to prevent them from getting sick or being quarantined if they are exposed.

St. Luke’s is hosting a number of upcoming vaccine clinics. Dates, times and locations for those can be found here:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 10: 7:00am-1:00pm, St. Luke’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
  • Wednesday, Aug. 11: 9:00am-3:00pm, St. Luke’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
  • Thursday, Aug. 12: 8:00am-12:00pm, Proctor High School or 11:00am-7:00pm, St. Luke’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Essentia is also offering opportunities to get vaccinated by visiting MyChart patient portal or by calling 833-494-0836.