Everything you need to know to prepare for back to school anxiety, lunches and sleep habits.
We have the tools you need to prepare your kids for going back to school. Our comprehensive School Health web resource answers the top health questions of parents, teachers and school administrators.
What’s really important to prepare your child for success at school is to make sure they are as healthy as possible when they sit down to learn. That means ensuring they are eating and sleeping well and are able to recharge after school in a healthy way to prepare for the next day.
It also means paying close attention to their mental health, helping them cope with any back to school anxiety and supporting teenagers to make good choices in high school when faced with relationship or peer pressure issues. And it includes taking preventative measures like immunization to ensure they are protected from communicable diseases in their classrooms.
COVID-19 considerations for back to school
Recommendations for individuals and for school settings are outlined in the provincial Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools. You can find more information at the BCCDC’s school COVID-19 information web resource.
Vaccines are the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Everyone who is eligible is encouraged to get vaccinated.
Children and young people ages six months to 17 years old are eligible for COVID-19 immunization. For more information on youth immunization, visit the province of B.C. and BCCDC web resources for more information.
Visit our Schools and COVID-19 page to find more guidance and resources to prepare for back to school this fall.
School anxiety in children
Coping with transitions: For some children, going back to school can spark anxiety even in the best of times. Help your child cope with our tips on managing anxiety in children and youth.
School avoidance: Is your child so worried about school that they come up with any excuse to avoid it? We have guidance on how to help your child develop positive mental health skills to help control their anxiety.
School bullying: Is your child worried about heading back to class because they have to face a classroom bully again? We have advice on how to empower your child to speak up and how you can help prevent bullying. Plus, read more on how to take action against bullying and embrace kindness.
Child and youth mental health: Learn which signs to watch for in your child that may indicate they are struggling with their mental health and quickly find resources and support to help them in our child and youth mental health web resource.
Lunches kids actually eat: Packing a healthy school lunch is key for giving your child a healthy energy boost during their school day. Visit our Healthy Eating for children resource for comprehensive advice on feeding your family: with tips on everything promoting a positive relationship with food and making healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks in a hurry.
Safe travel to and from school
Tips for drivers to protect kids walking or riding to school: While drivers need to watch for people of all ages walking and cycling throughout the year, the roads can be especially busy as kids return to school. Everybody has a part to play when it comes to keeping our kids safe on the roads. Read about some simple ways you can keep kids safe on their way to school.
Walking to school helps kids make the grade: Children who walk, bike or use other forms of active transportation to school have been shown to have lower risks of obesity and asthma, better mental health and better performance. We have tips to help you ensure their safety and rally your community to share walk-to-school duties to make active school transport a reality for busy families.
Sleep and immunizations
Better sleep means better learning: Sleep is your child’s secret weapon to school success. Good quality sleep enhances learning, helping your child concentrate better, remember more and maintain good behaviour. Learn what to watch for and how to help them catch more zzzs. And check out these tips for helping students adopt better sleep habits for back to school.
Shots for back to school: Put immunizations on your children’s back to school list. Children between four and six years of age should have up-to-date booster shots to protect against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, chicken pox and whooping cough. Another set of vaccinations are due in Grades 6 and 9. By ensuring your child is immunized, not only are you protecting their health but those in the community as well. Learn more about immunizations for school-aged kids and how to book an appointment.
Child health screenings: vision, hearing and dental
Back to school is a good time to make sure your children are up-to-date on their regular health examinations such as dental, hearing, and vision. Find information on child health screenings and how to access free vision, hearing and dental exams here.
Personal safety for high schools students
Overdose awareness and prevention: Good information helps youth make good choices. This is crucial when it comes to preventing drug overdoses, alcohol and substance abuse in youth. Read our overdose resources for schools and parents for clear information on talking to children about drugs, complete with video examples of how to start the conversation in a way that works. We also have a guide on how to talk to your loved one if you believe they may be using substances unsafely.
Tobacco, alcohol and substance use: Experimenting is a natural part of growing up. But when youth experiment with substances such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs it can have serious consequences. Get the facts on youth tobacco use and learn about youth substance use services.
We’ve also got expert information about vaping and how to talk to your teenager about the potential risks.
Sexual health: Modern parents know our children need clear, consistent and non-judgmental information about their bodies, sexual reproduction and sexuality. But these can be tough topics to broach. We have a comprehensive guide written by public health experts to help you learn how to talk to your school aged child about sexual education, sexual identity, and puberty.
Gender and sexual identity: In today’s society, youth seem to be tuning in to their authentic gender identity and sexual orientation much earlier than in their parents’ generation. We have expert advice to help parents and teachers provide your child with the language, concepts and acceptance they need to feel good about themselves and their orientations so they can develop healthily without shame or fear. For youth, we have tips from our health experts on coming out.
Healthy relationships: High school is commonly when youth experience their first romantic and dating relationships. Make sure your child has the knowledge and tools to form and negotiate healthy relationships that enhance their lives. We have advice from health professionals on how youth can talk about sex and sexuality with their partner and make sure they are ready, how to practice safer sex with information on birth control options and how to get tested for sexually transmitted infections.