August 29, 2017

Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids – 4 Steps to School Success

Dr. Lucia Criveanu, a pediatrician at Mission Community Primary Care – Spruce Pine, offers expert advice on making this school year a success for your children, as seen in WNC Parent.


School, whether in a public, private or home setting, is a formal education that prepares a child for life. These four steps will help improve school performance.

1 – Get a physical exam. Every child should have an annual health maintenance exam to screen for hearing and vision problems that they are not able to express. For preschool children, this exam will evaluate school readiness, cognitive development, self-regulation skills and social functioning.

Children who are identified at risk for developmental problems will benefit from referral to early intervention programs. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, families can obtain free initial assessment and eligibility and access to services for speech therapy, occupational therapy or physical therapy.

2 – Watch screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents should limit screen time. This refers to the time spent by a child with a TV, computer, tablet or smartphone. For preschool children, the screen time should not be more than one hour, and the parent should provide quality content and watch the program with the child.

For older children, screen time should not interfere with important activities such as homework, exercise and sleep. Having a TV or a mobile device in the child’s bedroom often leads to inadequate sleep. Exposure to violent content is traumatizing for child and will be the predisposing factor for nightmares.

3 – Get enough sleep. Children need time to recover from daily stress and prepare for a new day. When sleep time is decreased due to busy extracurricular activities or excessive social media, watching TV or playing video games, children’s ability to concentrate is greatly decreased, which can lead to decreased school performance.

4 – Be a parent. Parents leave a lasting impression on their children’s emotional health and development. Promoting good nutrition, supervising daily homework, communicating with teachers and encouraging children to read are simple tasks that prove to be beneficial for each child.

Being a parent is a complex task, but with daily dedication spectacular things can be realized.


Lucia Criveanu, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician at Mission Community Primary Care – Spruce Pine.

To make an appointment, please call (828) 766-3555 or visit missionchildrens.org to find a pediatrician in your area.

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