Ready for School

Starting a school year can be an exciting and sometimes stressful time. Parents/caregivers can help their child get ready for school with healthy habits.

If your child is starting school for the first time there are many ways you can help them feel ready. Here are some examples:

  • Visiting the school and classroom and meeting their teacher can help your child know what to expect.
  • Reading books to your child about starting kindergarten to get them excited.
  • Talking about the first day of school will help children know what to expect.

Find more tips about starting kindergarten from the Government of Ontario.

School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO) has created a tip sheet to support mental health when returning to school. The How to Support a Mentally Healthy Back to School for Your Child resource is available in English, French, Arabic, and many other languages.

The SMHO website has many resources on many topics including identifying emotions, stress management and coping skills, and healthy relationship skills.  Parents/caregivers can use information and activities on this website  to help support their child’s mental health. 

Find more information and supports about child and youth mental health.

Children who get enough sleep are more ready to learn, play, and manage their emotions. Having the same bedtime routine every night can help children sleep well.

It is recommended that children get the following amount of sleep daily:

  • Children aged 3-4 years old should get 10-13 hours of sleep
  • Children aged 5-13 years old should get 9-11 hours of sleep

Learn more about sleep and how to create a sleep routine.

Children who have too much screen time do not get enough activity and may have a hard time sleeping.

  • Screens include TVs, computers, smartphones, and tablets.
  • Limit screen time to less than one hour per day for children aged 2 to 4.
  • Less than two hours per day of screen time for children 5 years and older.
  • Everyone benefits from turning off screens at least one hour before bed.

Learn more about limiting screen time and the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines

The foods you pack for your child will give them the energy they need to learn and play.

Plan and pack school lunches and snacks with your child the night before making sure to include:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole grain foods.
  • Protein foods.
  • Water in a reusable bottle.

Other tips for packing lunches and eating well at school include:

  • Make sure containers are easy to open.
  • Cut food into small, easy to eat bites.
  • Get your kids involved.

If your child’s school has a balanced school day, check out the Packing a lunch for a balanced school day resource. Make sure you check with your child’s school about policies related to food allergies. For more information about healthy eating visit the Government of Canada’s Healthy eating for parents and children webpage.

Before starting school, visit the dentist to have your child’s teeth checked. The Healthy Smiles Ontario program can help families in need to pay for dental care. You can call the Health Unit at 519-258-2146 ext. 1199 for more information.

Dental screening is offered to all schools in Windsor-Essex County (WEC) to children in junior kindergarten, senior kindergarten, and grade 2. Other students may be screened as well.

Find more information and supports about child and youth oral health.

Before starting school, visit an eye doctor to have your child’s vision tested. Healthy eyes and good vision are important for activities like learning to read and write, doing homework, using a computer, and playing.

Yearly eye exams for children are covered by OHIP. Children starting kindergarten, who need glasses, may qualify for one free pair of glasses. Visit the Eye See...Eye Learn website to learn more.

Find more information and supports about child and youth vision health.

Contact your health care provider to make sure your child is up-to-date on vaccinations based on Ontario’s Routine Immunization Schedule. Children, who are not fully immunized, may not be allowed to attend school.

When your child receives their vaccinations, remember to update your child’s record with the Health Unit using one of the following options:

  • Secure Online Reporting:
  • Phone: 519-258-2146 ext. 1222
  • Fax: 519-258-7288
  • Mail or In-Person: Windsor-Essex County Health Unit

The Healthy Schools Vaccine Department

1005 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, ON N9A 4J8

OR 33 Princess Street, Leamington, ON N8H 5C5

Learn more about immunization records. For a medical, conscience, or religious belief exemption from immunization, please contact us at 519-258-2146 ext.1222.

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