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6 easy ways to help your child's school

Reprinted with permission from

 

The start of school means back-to-school for parents too. Beyond helping your children with homework and assignments, cash-strapped schools need parents to pitch in and help in many ways - from participating in fundraisers, to helping in the classroom, to covering support roles in the library and cafeteria that used to be staffed by employees. Parental involvement builds great schools. According to recent research cited by the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), parental engagement in a child’s education increases student achievement, improves attendance and reduces the dropout rate. When you're asked to help this year, please do - it's easy!

Six stress-free ways to pitch in that make a difference

1. Volunteer to do something that fits into your schedule. For example, parents who work—or those with young kids— might choose to help once a term by chaperoning a field trip or helping with a field day or a holiday performance. Parents with more flexible schedules are needed as classroom assistants and cafeteria and library helpers.

2. Share your skills. Do you have a special hobby or expertise, such as art, music, woodworking, computers or gardening? Many of these “extras” are the first things to go in a budget crisis, and community members can bridge gaps and help inspire kids’ creativity. 

3. Support school fundraisers. Set a budget for participating in school fundraisers and choose the ones that are most meaningful and fun for your family (e.g. product sales, school carnival and book fair, walkathon, etc.) If writing checks isn't in your budget this year, consider contributing your time as a volunteer on the planning committee or on the day of school events. 

4. Save time withVolunteerSpot.comSkip “Reply-All” e-mail chains and Clipboards this year; this free website makes it easy for anyone to coordinate parent volunteers with simple online sign-up sheets. The parent leader or teacher sets the schedule of needs and invites parents to sign up with a link. Parents click to choose when and how to help— even from their smartphones. The site keeps everything up-to-date in real time, and sends automated confirmation and reminder messages to help parents keep their commitments. You can use it to organize classroom readers and parties, recess and library volunteers, snack schedules and fundraising events like school carnivals. (It’s great for teams and Scouts, too.)

5. Got a little extra time? Step up and be the Room Mom or Room Dad. These special parents help coordinate parent volunteers and plan celebrations in their children’s elementary school classrooms.

6. Buy products that benefit your child’s school. Save education-incentive box tops and labels from products to give to your school. Cut coupons from office supply stores to share with teachers so they can reduce their out-of-pocket expenses on school supplies. 

Top 5 tips for making high school easier

Reprinted with permission from

 

High School.  It can bring back all kinds of memories – both good and bad.  Regardless of when you attended high school, I can assure you the drama is still there but lots of other things have changed.  Kids are now turning their English papers in online and using Moodle or other open-source sites to communicate with their teachers.  Getting into college is exponentially harder than 25 years ago when I first applied to the University of Georgia

So, what can you do to help your student navigate these four years? 

I asked my seniors to share their advice for making the high school years easier.  I combined their responses with my 17 years of teaching experience and created ourtop five tips for making high school easier:

1. Get to know your student’s guidance counselor early on 2. Keep in contact with your student’s teachers (but don’t hover) 3. Help your student start to build a resume 4. Remind your student - their transcript starts in 9th grade5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

1. Get to know your student’s guidance counselor early on. 

Many kids can go through all of high school without needing to meet with their school guidance counselor. Get to know him or her; these folks are your secret weapon!  Meet with the counselor early and make a long range plan.  Guidance counselors know all about college admissions, scholarship information, your state’s graduation requirements, and diploma options.  They also can recommend summer programs that meet your student’s  interests and are a great help if your student needs someone to talk to concerning that drama I referred to earlier.

2. Keep in contact with your student’s teachers (but don’t hover). 

Email is an invaluable tool when it comes to parent-teacher communication! I love being able to send a quick note to either an entire class or to individual parents and most teachers welcome messages from parents. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about your child about homework assignments – especially if details aren’t listed online.  Also, be sure you know your student’s schedule and teacher’s names. A friend of mine made a photocopy of her kid’s schedule and kept it in her wallet – great idea!

3. Help your student start to build a resume. 

Many college applications require an essay concerning leadership or a life-changing event.  Help your student look for some kind of volunteer work that they are really interested in and then help them get involved.  Boy Scouts and church youth groups offer great activities but keep looking if that is not something they like.  If they think they want to go into medicine, volunteer at the hospital.  The animal shelter, a food bank, Meals On Wheels are all good choices.  Or look at things already offered at school like Service Clubs.  At our school we have Special Needs students in a program called the Progressive Education Program.  Students can use a class slot to be a peer helper with PEP.  Many students say their connections here and through activities like Special Olympics are life-changing.

4. Remind your student – their transcript starts in 9th grade. 

So, we used to joke about the Permanent Record File that teachers would hold over our head.  “Beware – this goes in your permanent record!”  Never saw that thing… Whatwill follow your student though is their transcript.  This is a record of all their final class grades and official test scores – state exit tests, SAT, ACT.  Colleges make a big deal about looking at the Junior year grades but all class grades go into the final Grade Point Average.  Course selections and grades from freshman year can affect options later in high school. Be sure your student helps make that four year plan (see #1) so they can understand the consequences of their choices.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Though – in general - high school teachers are not as warm and fuzzy as our elementary counterparts, we love to help.  Teachers, those counselors mentioned above, media specialists, and administrators all are there for one reason only – to help kids succeed!  Jump in if your student is struggling in a class. Teachers and counselors can come up with creative solutions to problems; but, never forget you are your child’s best advocate.  Most schools have student tutors that will help in exchange for service hour credit. 

Parenting is not for the faint of heart and the normal high school student will challenge the bravest of us.  Reach out and be involved. Help your kids find a direction and a passion.  Though they often have a strange way of expressing it, your kids will appreciate your help and involvement.  Good luck to you!

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Cindy Hallman-Morris is a High School math teacher in Asheville, NC.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), has a Masters in Education (MEd), and is a mother to a High School and Middle School student. When she’s not teaching math, she’s driving her kids to soccer and gymnastics, cooking up a storm, and blogging all about it at  www.midlymanicmom.com.  Follow her on Twitter@MildlyManicMom

 

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What’s next on back-to-school supply lists? Mops and floor polish?

Given the number of cleaning products showing up on back-to-school school supply lists, a friend jokes that she expects to see mops, brooms and floor polish next.

Over the years, I’ve seen school supply lists go well beyond pencils, paper and glue to paper towels, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

As the number of items on back-to-school lists have increased, so have complaints about them.

As a reader said in a note to me:

My friends are complaining the lists are very costly and they are being asked to buy multiples of items such a scissors. Are schools asking more of parents, are fewer parents sending supplies or are parents just more strapped for cash? I’ve just never seen so much chatter and my complaining friends live in the most affluent county in the state. I wonder if the lists are affecting families in other areas even more. Do parents become detached when they can’t even fill the first requests of the school?

On my neighborhood listserv, I learned that my local elementary school has adopted what News/Talk WSB personality and AJC columnist Neal Boortz derides as a conspiracy to inculcate children with a tolerance of government control of property rights: The teacher puts all school supplies into a common pool used by all students. (As one parent commented: “In other words, don’t buy your child the Spiderman folder; he’s not going to be able to use it.”)

This wasn’t the case when my four children went through elementary school. (And they attended at a time when the percentage of low-income students in the school was higher than it is today.) Yes, we bought tissues, paper towels, Ziplock bags and hand sanitizer to share, but kids kept their own folders, markers and pencils.

With all the financial challenges facing schools today, I am not going to quibble about back-to-school supply lists. I dutifully go out and buy everything that’s listed, even though I’ve found that some stuff never gets used. (I still have some two pocket/pronged folders and six pocket dividers with tabs sitting around.)

But the ever expanding lists have become a point of contention among some parents.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

A+ lunches

White bread bologna sandwich. Cookie. Apple.White bread peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Cookie. Banana.Sometimes a bag of chips.That, in a nutshell, was the dietary equivalent of the school lunches my mother put together as she rushed four kids to the bus stop every day.Usually, the sandwich was trashed or stashed in my locker to become a future science experiment, and the cookie and fruit were supplemented by vending machine junk. (Swiss rolls, anyone?)Times have not changed much. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that middle-school cafeterias are responsible for 40,000 pounds of waste a year to landfills — and 70 percent of that is discarded food.Donna Jaffe of Marietta, Ga., changed her lunch-making practices years ago, when she discovered her boys didn't want to eat what she had packed.So she got them involved in the process. "I decided not to stress, " she says. "If they want to pack last night's cold spaghetti and tomato sauce, that's OK. A bagel and cream cheese sandwich was fine too."If you are doing all the right [healthy] things for breakfast and dinner, it's not such a big deal."Lisa Cronic of Decatur, Ga., agrees. She likes to make lunches her children don't want to trade at lunchtime."Get them involved in choosing their own lunches, " she says. Cronic enlists the help of her 5-year-old son, Asa, who loves cheese. They try out samples at the Whole Foods counter, then select a few favorites. She also looks for creative ways to pack a lunch for her 9-year-old daughter, Terryl.A favorite is homemade mini-tacos stuffed with chicken and cheese. She heats them in the morning in the microwave, then double-wraps them in foil and packs them in an insulated lunchbox.Apples are cut into wedges and given a squirt of lemon so they don't turn brown. She also bakes mini-muffins and banana bread and throws them in the freezer to pull out later for lunches. They're thawed by the time the lunch bell rings.Most experts agree: Don't introduce your child to exotic foods in the lunchbox; it's almost a guaranteed toss. But you can make the foods your child does like more appealing. There is a reason kids gravitate to those pre-packaged Lunchables — they look cool."A healthy lunch is one that kids will eat, " said Cristina Caro, a registered dietitian and program coordinator for Healthy Lifestyles at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "Packing lunch is a delicate balance between what's good for them and what they're willing to eat."

Dietitian's tips
  • Cut a sandwich into three or four pieces.
  • Try some variety in the fruit. If your child will eat only apples, get Granny Smiths, Golden Delicious and McIntosh for variety.
  • Think color and texture — fruits and vegetables that are bright, like baby carrots, and things that are chewy, like dried fruits.
  • Also consider your child's lunchtime. Some schools have lunch scheduled as early as 10:45 a.m. Your child might not be hungry for a big lunch then, Caro says.
  • Pack healthy finger foods as a quick snack or light lunch. "Even older kids like to eat with their hands, " Caro said.
  • Pat McQuarrie's children are grown, but the Peachtree City mom says it was "a challenge to send lunches, as they did not like the school lunch. I found that younger children liked to 'dip, ' so I created 'inside out' sandwiches."
  • Start with a crispy breadstick, then build out in any way that sounds good to them. For example: thin-sliced cheese wrapped around the breadstick, then lunchmeat (ham, turkey etc.), then lettuce. Wrap this snugly in plastic. Send a small container of their favorite salad dressing, like ranch or honey mustard.
  • She suggests a variation of the inside-out sandwich, with mozzarella, then salami, and the dipping sauce could be marinara.
  • Milk, juice or water?
  • These days, there are multiple milk choices for kids, from "snow cone" vanilla, to chocolate and strawberry. Flavored milks are OK, because they do provide calcium and vitamins A and D, but parents should be aware of their high sugar content, Caro said.
  • Best-case scenario: Children should drink skim or 1 percent milk.
  • Look for 100 percent juice; about 4-6 ounces is OK, Caro says. And plain water is always a good choice.
INSPIRATION FROM THE INTERNET

If your kid is trading — or trashing — his or her lunch, here are some ideas from Web sites to keep them happy for the school year. All sites have recipes on them.www.laptoplunches.com

  • Tip: When you're deciding what to cook for dinner, think about how you might incorporate leftovers into lunch for the following day. Make extra servings for dinner and set them aside for the next day's lunch.
  • www.parentstalk.com
  • Tip: Don't assume that your child's uneaten lunch is a sign that he did not like the food. If you ask a few questions, you may find that your child does not have enough time to eat or that he is spending more time socializing with his friends than actually chewing.
  • From recipes.kaboose.com
  • Tip: To maintain food at a cool temperature, pack a frozen juice box or water bottle in an insulated lunch bag. You can also use a freezable gel pack. Try to position the coldest item at the top of the bag since cool air settles.
  • From veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/
  • Tip: "I know some marketing genius is developing soy yogurt tubes even as we speak, but in the meantime I'm trying my hand at homemade: I filled a snack-size zip-lock bag with about 1/2 cup cherry soy yogurt and froze it overnight. This morning I cut a very small slit in one corner of the bag. By lunch, it can be squeezed out."

From www.familyfun.com:

• The "You can be in my club — sandwich": Divide two bread slices, crusts removed, into horizontal halves. Spread one slice with mustard, top with a slice of ham and a slice of your child's favorite cheese. Cover the second bread slice with chicken or turkey and mayonnaise. Cover the third slice with mayonnaise, tomato and cucumber slices. Stack the layers, top with the fourth bread slice, and cut in half. Insert an umbrella toothpick, if desired, into each stack.

• Cheesy tortillas: Spread half a flour tortilla with refried beans, a slice of cheddar, Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese and mild salsa. Fold the tortilla in half, place between two paper plates and heat in a microwave until the cheese is melted (to heat in the oven, wrap in foil). Cut into triangles or leave whole; wrap in foil. You can also layer one tortilla over another or roll a single tortilla, Mexican fashion.

 

From www.parentzone.babyzone/com/momtomom/stories:Try packing a scoop of tuna or chicken salad into an ice cream cone. They aren't packed with sugar and kids love them. In a zip-top bag, put cut veggies that your child can use to decorate the head of the cone. Use carrot strips for hair and cherry tomatoes for eyes.

From busycooks.about.com:Small children may not eat very much at one sitting. Think about packing appetizers instead of a large sandwich and whole banana. You can also include more choices if the quantity of each is smaller. Fill mini muffin paper cups with small amounts of food, wrap with foil and pack in the lunchbox.

From www.parentstalk.com:Make Pineapple Kebabs: thread on toothpicks pineapple chunks (1/2-inch pieces), marble cheese cubes (1/2-inch pieces) and slices of nitrate-free ham cut into 1-inch squares.

Other Web sites to get ideas:www.mealsforyou.comwww.mealsmatter.orgwww.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition

 

Recipes

Banana Dog1 servingHands on: 10 minutes Total time: 10 minutes

  • 1 hot dog bun (whole wheat, if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry or other jam, or honey, if preferred
  • 1 whole unpeeled banana
  • Raisins, shredded coconut, chopped peanuts

Spread one inner surface of split hot dog bun with peanut butter or cream cheese. Spread other side with jam or honey. Wrap in plastic wrap. Pack a whole banana (in the peel) and a small container of toppings, such as raisins, coconut and peanuts, or whatever else you can think of.At lunchtime, your child can peel the banana and place it in the bun, and sprinkle on the toppings and eat.— Recipe from www.kaboose.comPer serving: 366 calories (percent of calories from fat, 26), 10 grams protein, 63 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 11 grams fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 281 milligrams sodium.

 

Ultimate Tortilla Roll-up1 servingHands on: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes

  • 1 whole-wheat tortilla
  • 1 or 2 slices soy cheddar cheese (like Veggie Cheddar)
  • 1 Romaine lettuce leaf, shredded
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1 teaspoon vinaigrette, your choice
  • 1 baked, skinless chicken breast

Lay tortilla flat. Add cheese. In a small bowl, toss lettuce and tomato with vinaigrette and set aside. Slice chicken, and lay on top of cheese. Top with lettuce and tomato, roll, then wrap with plastic wrap to secure.— From Leanne Ely, author of the "Saving Dinner" cookbook seriesPer serving: 480 calories (percent of calories from fat, 28), 15 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 27 milligrams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 119 milligrams cholesterol, 49 grams protein, 716 milligrams sodium.

 

Turkey Roll-ups6 servingsHands on: 15 minutes Total time: 15 minutesCut these up into pinwheels for a fun treat. They keep up to three days in the refrigerator.

  • 6 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
  • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dry ranch dip
  • 12 thinly sliced fat-free turkey breast slices, halved
  • 1/2 cup low-sugar red raspberry preserves
  • 1 bunch green leaf lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Microwave tortillas on high 10 to 15 seconds; set aside. Combine sour cream and dry ranch dip; spread 2 tablespoons mixture on 1 side of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 4 turkey slice halves and spread with 1 1/2 tablespoons preserves. Top tortillas evenly with lettuce and cheese. Roll up tortillas; wrap with plastic wrap. Chill up to 8 hours.— From the upcoming cookbook "Cooking Up Some Changes" produced by the Healthy Lifestyles program at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, due to be released in December. www.choa.org/fitkidsPer serving: 290 calories (percent of calories from fat, 21), 15 grams protein, 8 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated), 7 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 510 milligrams sodium.

Video: Healthy back to school eating

Video: Learn about cyber bullying

Video: Back to school makeup tutorial

Space where kids can work

School projects took over their dining room. A stack of construction paper here, a cluster of crayons there, tape everywhere.The chandelier at Harold and Kimberly Melton's home didn't set the mood for meals as much as it illuminated watercolors and Dr. Seuss books.And that was OK — for a few years.But, as the three Melton children grew, so did their need for a dedicated space where they could learn without having to shove everything in a closet when Mom and Dad hosted the occasional dinner party.Last year, the Meltons sacrificed the dining room. Craftsmen transformed the area into a room with new lighting, shelving and hooks to hold backpacks. A new dining room was built in another part of the house."It's about giving your kids a space where they can work and it's not going to be interrupted, " said Kimberly Melton, who now home schools her three kids, Lauren, 9; David, 8, and Julian, 6. "It's also about being able to find things. It makes your life a lot easier."As the school year gets under way this coming week for much of metro Atlanta, many parents are scrambling to get organized. From decluttering to setting up new shelves to moving furniture, parents are getting the house — and their kids — ready to focus and thrive.Experts say a well-lighted, designated place for kids to do their homework, and a system to keep the paper and projects in order, can be just as important to a child's success in school as eating a healthy breakfast and getting a good night's rest."If the student is organized and the family is organized, the rest is easy, " said Linda Stokes, director of a Sylvan Learning Center in Cumming. "You'll also be in a better mood. And when you are in a good mood, you can accomplish more."In today's highly wired, fast-paced lifestyle, experts say parents need to be purposeful in creating a quiet place for schoolwork.Stokes said the work area should be void of a TV and a computer, since a computer also can be distracting. When a child needs to use the computer for schoolwork, he can move to use it. Having it nearby at all times can get children off track because they might play computer games or message their friends instead of tending to the task at hand.What works best for child"Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find something you need, " said Sylvia Morrow-Nocon, mom to 14-year-old Amelia, who will start her freshman year at Centennial High School in Roswell. "We have saved some family drama by having things where they are supposed to be."Weeks ago, Morrow-Nocon and Amelia started discarding mounds of school papers that are no longer needed and boxing up the items they want to keep, such as report cards and artwork.The teenager's desk is now clear. And Mom and daughter are getting organized, labeling folders that will hold homework divided into three categories: daily homework, short-term projects and long-term projects. Each folder will note when the work is due."It really helps because, when she comes home, she just needs to grab the right folder and get to work, " Morrow-Nocon said.Dr. Erik Fisher, an Atlanta child psychologist, said while it's critical for parents to establish a designated place for schoolwork, it doesn't have to be a desk."If it's the couch where your child likes to study, that's OK, but make it the same couch every day, " he said.And while some children like a quiet space, others like background noise, he said.The key, he said, is figuring out what works best for your child and then being consistent to establish good habits.Allison Lanier Jones of Insight Design said parents often don't provide enough light in a room. She said a combination of natural lighting and an overhead light is good, but children also need desk lamps.Jones also said parents often don't leave enough space for the desk and chair."Remember, kids don't always want to sit at the desk, " said Jones, whose architectural firm did the redesign project at the Melton house that also included adding a mezzanine-level play room. "They may want to kneel or perch on the chair and that takes more space."Room of their ownBack in May, 9-year-old Lauren Melton covered a long wooden table in the former dining room (but now kids room) with wood and paint. Working on a history project about Neil Armstrong, she crafted a wooden model of a spaceship."It was so nice to be able to leave it there and she could keep going back to it, " said her mom, Kimberly Melton.The Meltons ended up setting up a wooden dining room table in the room now devoted to the kids.The table features a metal insert originally designed for ice to chill beverages. They use it to neatly hold crayons, markers and pencils.The room is adorned with the kids' artwork — some are framed; others are taped to the wall. There's room for more.Everything in this corner of the house is ready for another school year."You have to get yourself up for it and you have to say, 'Yes, we are going to do this and make this space work, " said Kimberly Melton.

Getting ready

Here are eight tips for getting your home back in shape for school.

  • 1. Carve out a homework spot: Whether it is a bedroom or family office, find an area where your child can work distraction-free and make it a designated work space. Stock the area with all of the supplies and tools needed to complete the homework.
  • 2. Organize: Use separate, labeled notebooks for each class or subject area. Create files for each subject. Use a calendar to keep track of important dates and deadlines.
  • 3. Lighting: Take advantage of natural lighting and use an overhead light, but also add desk lamps.
  • 4. Storage: Storage bins and pullout trays keep items neat and organized and yet easy to transport. Use clear ones so you can see what's inside or label them.
  • 5. Don't commingle: School work books, library books should be stored separately from family books and papers. This way it will be much easier to keep track of where everything is.
  • 6. Artwork: Hang your child's artwork with pride, consider framing it in interchangeable mattes. It's inspiring and sends the message to your child you value his or her creativity.
  • 7. Label everything: With more than one child, it can be easy to get kids' stuff mixed up. And this will also prevent your child's stuff from getting lost at school.
  • 8. Noise: Avoid loud music, but remember not all kids like it silent. Some like background music. If so, go with instrumental, not Top 40 songs.

Source: Insight Design, Sylvan Learning

Common ailments and what to know

 

For kids heading back to school this fall, it's just a matter of time until they come down with the sniffles, coughs or worse.Despite a cleaning crew's best efforts, classrooms morph into petri dishes when kids get a bug, especially when they can spread infection long before they know they're sick. To arm parents and kids against the most likely sicknesses in class, we talked to Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician with the Children's Medical Group in Atlanta and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, to learn more.

  • 1) Common cold: Not surprisingly, this is the illness seen most often in Shu's practice. She advises parents to keep their kids with colds at home as long as they have a fever, or if they feel very sick. Best advice to prevent infection? Make sure your little one gets enough sleep, has a healthy diet, and learns to sneeze and cough in his sleeve to prevent spreading infection. Oh, and teach him to wash his hands frequently. The AAP suggests taking your child to the doctor if symptoms persist beyond two weeks or include ear pain, difficulty breathing or excessive tiredness.
  • 2) Strep throat: If it seems that your child can't kick the strep throat bug, it's because the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes has several strains and spreads easily from infected saliva, Shu said. As soon as you suspect your child has strep, which causes a very red and sore throat, fever, headache and stomach pains, have him tested by a doctor. Keep him at home until he's fever-free for 24 hours or on antibiotics for at least a day. Best advice? Tell the little one to avoid sharing drinks and to wash hands frequently.
  • 3) Stomach bugs: The first thing to do if your child is vomiting or has diarrhea from a stomach bug is obvious: Keep him home, lest he encounter his most embarrassing moment ever at school. Shu said to watch out for dehydration by making sure your child has lots of fluids and rest but eats solid food only once he's able to digest it. Call your doctor if your child has a fever, if blood is present in his waste or if you suspect the illness is food- or travel-related.
  • 4) Pinkeye: This sticky, gooey infection, marked by bright pink eyes and yellow-green pus, luckily isn't as serious as it looks. That said, it's easily spread. Conjunctivitis, which can be viral or bacterial according to the AAP's website, Healthychildren.org, is spread by sharing towels, washcloths or pillows. Shu added that it's most common in children who are prone to touching others. While the viral version clears up in a few days, persistent infections should be seen by a doctor as antibiotics (eyedrops or an ointment for the bacterial variety) are in order. The little one is contagious until he's been on the drops for 24 hours, Shu said, though the AAP suggests keeping your child at home until the infection is gone. And make sure he keeps his hands to himself.
  • 5) Head lice: OK, this isn't a bacteria or virus, but it's one bug you don't want your kid to catch. While the AAP recently recommended that children with lice need not be kept at home, Shu recommends treating lice as soon as possible with a lice-fighting shampoo. She noted the shampoos only kill live lice and do not penetrate the lice shells or nits, thus parents should repeat treatments in one week. Best advice? Remind your child not to share hats, brushes or combs with friends. (Some schools allow children to keep their coats and backpacks at their desks, instead of transmission-friendly communal closets.)
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