It’s back-to-school time, and parents and kids are abuzz with preparations: stocking up on school supplies, choosing new outfits, and even dreaming about Pinterest-perfect lunchboxes. More important than all of this, however, is making sure that our kids stay healthy this school year, which includes keeping them up-to-date on their vaccinations.
There are so many things we can do to keep our kids healthy, like ensuring they get enough sleep (I’m obsessed with sleep; I mention it as often as I can), keeping them active, providing healthy(ish) food (I’m not as obsessed with this), teaching germ etiquette (handwashing, coughing and sneezing into the elbow) and making sure they have all the medical attention they need, including their recommended vaccinations.
Childhood vaccines help prevent illness and outbreak, not only in your house but the larger community, and it’s easy to keep up-to-date with vaccinations using Ontario’s online vaccination schedule. And don’t forget to keep your local Health Unit updated when your kids get vaccines: with both girls (you think I would have learned the first time) I received notices through the school that their records were not up-to-date, and had to send the information in.
Several vaccinations are required for school-aged kids. In order to attend school in Ontario, children must be immunized against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcal disease and whooping cough (unless they have a valid exemption).
In a classroom, kids are exposed to everyone else’s germs, and some students may have low immunity or any variety of health issues, making them more susceptible to illness (and for these reasons some are not even able to be vaccinated). I truly believe we all have a responsibility to keep everyone safe and healthy, which is why my girls have always been caught up on their vaccines, and will continue to be until they are adults and can take on that responsibility for themselves.
I love these photos of my girls, on their respective first days of school. In fact, I keep them framed in my bedroom. As a kindergarten teacher, I have the privilege of seeing little ones arrive wide-eyed and ready for school, and while I want so many things for them, being happy and healthy is my first prayer, just as it always is for my daughters.
For more information and to make sure your kids are up-to-date on their vaccinations, visit http://www.ontario.ca/ChildhoodVaccines.
Disclosure: This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions of the author are their own.