As summer draws to a close, it is time to get the kids ready for a new school year. For many families, the transition can be challenging. There is plenty you can do to help your child adjust and stay safe and healthy at any stage. Make sure that your child practices healthy eating and lifestyle habits, keeps active and gets enough sleep. Keep up regular visits to their health care providers and ensure immunizations are up-to-date. Look out for your child’s mental health and help your child manage the stress of new routines and social situations.
Learn how to help your child stay safe and learn healthy lifestyle habits this school year.
COVID-19 Safe Schools
Students in B.C. have returned to in-person learning. In-person learning is important for a student’s education, well-being and social and emotional development. New health and safety measures are in place to help keep everyone safe. These include wearing masks, hand-washing and physical distancing.
Wearing a mask is required for all staff in all K to 12 schools. Masks are also required for middle and secondary school students indoors at school, including when they are in their learning groups. The only exceptions are when:
- Sitting or standing at their seat or workstation in a classroom
- If there is a barrier in place
- Eating or drinking
Elementary school students are not required to wear masks and it remains a family decision.
For more information, see:
- BC Centre for Disease Control: Child Care, Schools & Camps
- BC Centre for Disease Control: School COVID-19 Information
- Government of British Columbia: COVID-19 safe schools
- Government of British Columbia: Information for Parents and Families
- Government of British Columbia: K-12 Health Check
- Government of British Columbia: Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings (PDF, 585KB)
- Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Bullying can happen in all kinds of situations. It can be physical, verbal, social or even happen online. Learn about bullying, including how to know if your child is being bullied or is bullying.
- Bullying: Building a Child's Self-Esteem
- Bullying: How to Help Your Child Who Bullies
- Bullying: Signs a Child Is Bullied
Getting your child immunized can help save lives. Immunizations help your immune system recognize and quickly kill bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness or death. Learn about the routine immunizations offered in B.C.
- Childhood Vaccines are Safe (HealthLinkBC File #50c)
- The Benefits of immunizing Your Child (HealthLinkBC File # 50b)
- Grade 6 Immunizations in B.C. (HealthLinkBC File #50f)
- Grade 9 Immunizations in B.C. (HealthLinkBC File #50g)
Creating healthy eating habits from an early age is an important part of your child’s growth and development. Learn about healthy eating, including healthy snack and meal ideas.
- Healthy Eating
- Caffeinated Energy Drinks (HealthLinkBC File #109)
- Healthy Eating: Helping Your Child Learn Healthy Eating Habits
- Healthy Eating for Children
- Quick Tips: Making Healthy Snacks
For additional healthy eating information or advice you can also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered dietitian or Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.
Getting Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for children of all ages. Get tips on how to create a bed time routine, why your child might not be sleeping well and why it is important to get enough sleep.
- Nightmares and Other Sleep Problems in Children
- Sleep Problems, Age 12 and Older
- Time for Bed (HealthLinkBC File #92e)
Managing Health Concerns at School
If your child has health concerns such as asthma, allergies or diabetes, it is important that you make a plan for the time they are at school.
- Allergy Safe Child Care Facilities (HealthLinkBC File #100c)
- Asthma: Educating Yourself and Your Child
- Diabetes in Children: Care Plan for School and Daycare
- Severe Allergic Reaction (Anaphylaxis)
Mental health issues can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity. Learn about mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and what to do if you or someone you know needs help.
- Mental Health and Substance Use
- Mental and Behvioural Health (Learning Centre)
- Mental Health and Substance Use Supports in B.C. – Children and Youth
Making sure that your child gets enough physical activity is an important part of their growth and development. Learn how much exercise children require each day and get tips on how to stay active.
- Healthy Habits for Kids
- Helping Children with Disabilities Stay Active
- Physical Activity for Children and Teens
- Quick Tips: Getting Active as a Family
For more physical activity information or advice you can also call 8-1-1 to speak with a qualified exercise professional or Email Physical Activity Services.
As your child grows, it is important that they get regular checkups with their family doctor or nurse practitioner, eye doctor and dentist. Learn what routine health checkups your child should have.
- Basic Dental Care
- Elementary School Age Children and Their Vision (HealthLinkBC File #53b)
- Medical Checkups for Adolescents
- Routine Checkups
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Get information about sexual and reproductive health, such as how to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), birth control options and more.
- Birth Control
- Emergency Contraception (EC) (HealthLinkBC File #91b)
- Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) (HealthLink BC File #08o)
- Sexual Health (Learning Centre)
As social interactions continue in our communities and schools are back in session, you may be concerned about increased exposure to COVID-19. For information about school exposures from your local health authority, please visit the Public Health Alerts In Your Area.
You and your child may wonder how the COVID-19 test is given. To help reduce anxiety and worry for children who must take the test, BC Children’s Hospital developed an informative video. You can watch as a Child Life Specialist shows how the test works and how children will feel when receiving it. Watch now to learn more about the COVID-19 test for children. esting for COVID-19 is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-like symptoms, even mild symptoms. Testing is not required if you do not have symptoms. You do not need a referral or to call 8-1-1. Learn more about testing and where you can get tested.
Starting a New School
Starting a new school can be scary. In some children, it can cause stress or anxiety as they struggle to fit in, make new friends and create a new routine. Get tips on how to help your child transition into a new school, develop social skills and self-esteem and deal with stress.
- Help Your School-Age Child Develop Social Skills
- Helping Your Child Build Inner Strength
- Helping Your Child Transition Into Middle School or Junior High
- Stress in Children and Teenagers
Whether your child is playing at the playground, walking to school or trying to properly use a backpack, their safety is important. Learn how to help keep your child safe.
- Child Safety: Street and Motor Vehicles
- Playground Safety
- Quick Tips: Helping Your Child Stay Safe and Healthy
- Quick Tips: Using Backpacks Safely
The childhood and teenage years are when children experience and try new things. While most of these experiences can be positive, some may be risky or unsafe. Learn about alcohol and drug use in young people and why it is important to make time to talk openly and honestly with your children about complex issues such as substance use and overdose.
- Alcohol and Drug Use in Young People
- Be Drug Smart
- Naloxone: Treating Opioid Overdose (HealthLinkBC File #118)
- Quitting Smoking (HealthLink BC File #30c)
- Quit Smoking
- Substance Use Parenting Articles
Your Health Authority
Get school related health information from your health authority.
- First Nations Health Authority: Returning to the classroom… Yes, it can cause anxiety!
- Fraser Health: School Health
- Interior Health: School Health
- Island Health: School Years
- Northern Health: School & Youth Health
- Vancouver Coastal Health: School Health
ERASE Bullying (Expect Respect and A Safe Education) is a Ministry of Education website that provides information about bullying, as well as information directed towards parents and youth. Visit their website to learn more.
Healthy Families BC
The Healthy Families BC website encourages families to work together to create healthier lives, schools, communities and workplaces for all British Columbians. The website provides practical tips on health and learning, healthy eating and healthy lifestyle choices.
- Healthy Families BC
- Physical Activity Tips for Children
- Recipes and Tips for School Lunches
- Walking to School, One Step Closer to Healthier Kids
Healthy Schools BC
Healthy Schools partners with the community, the health sector and the education sector to support students to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Programs and supports include active living, healthy relationships, healthy eating and healthy practices. Visit their website to learn more.
Last Reviewed: August 2021