National Back to School Month


Setting Children Up for Success This School Year



Even though you may still be planning your next family barbeque or outing, the new school year will be here before you know it, with all the excitement and preparations that go along with it. Here are some suggestions to help make the transition back to school smooth.

COUNTING DOWN

  • Use a calendar to count down the start date. This helps remind us to get everything ready.
  • Back-to-school shopping should be fun! Let kids pick out their lunchboxes and backpacks. A backpack should be no more than 10-20%of your child’s weight when loaded. Adjust the straps so the bottom of the pack sits at their waist. Ask your children which fruits or other healthy snacks they would like to include in their lunchboxes.
  • Though older kids returning to school may be dreading the day, encourage them to check out extracurricular options in areas that interest them, or new ones they’ve never explored, to nurture their passions and keep them connected to their peers.
  • Unlike their older siblings, little ones just starting are likely to be excited. Help build on this by looking for a book to read together about other kids also starting on this journey. This may also help to allay any fears about the experience. Remind them that you were young once, too! Emphasize the fun part of meeting new friends and seeing old ones they have missed over the summer.
  • School bedtime routines should resume 1-2 weeks before starting back. Once back on track, try to keep the new schedule on weekends and school holidays. Younger kids need 10-12 hours of sleep per night, while teens benefit from 8-10 hours. Remember to turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime to help kids transition to sleep more easily.



Back-to-school shopping should be fun!









HEALTHY STARTS

  • Good health is key to good learning. Schedule your child for a wellness check-up before school starts. Children entering Preschool or Kinder for the first time may need vaccines. Your 11-12-year-old might also be due for a tetanus/pertussis booster and meningitis vaccine. Consider getting your kids COVID vaccines or boosters to keep them healthy as their exposure to others increases. They are now approved and recommended for children as young as six months old. If needed, request a copy of their complete immunization record in case the school needs one.
  • Get school medication forms completed by your child’s doctor early, so the school nurse has everything needed by the first day of school. In addition, most schools require updated Asthma and Allergy Action Plans yearly. Don’t forget to check the expiration dates on medications taken to school.


SAFETY FIRST

  • If your child is riding their bike to school, ensure their helmet straps are properly adjusted to fit securely.
  • Make sure your child has not outgrown their car seat and verify what the car seat laws are for your state. Until they are teenagers, kids belong in the back seat of your vehicle. Ensure they are always buckled up, even if the ride to school is short.
  • Remind little ones taking the bus to stay seated until they arrive at school.


BACK IN SCHOOL

  • Studies consistently show that kids who eat breakfast are more focused and do better in school, so don’t let them skip it (especially busy teens). Make sure their breakfast includes some protein for sustained energy throughout the morning.
  • Once the homework starts back up, ensure a quiet space that is neat and uncluttered to get it done. Keep it free of distractions and insist on keeping the TV off.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is this true?



LASTLY, FEELINGS MATTER

  • If your kids are a little older, chances are they have heard about recent school tragedies and may have questions or fears about returning to school. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they feel. The American School Counselor Association recommends listening to your kids’ concerns and answering their questions honestly. Reach out to your child’s doctor if their anxiety persists.
  • Bullying takes many forms. Remind kids of all ages that they can talk to you or another trusted adult about behavior from anyone (child or adult) that makes them sad or anxious.
  • Everyone likes to know they’re loved and appreciated. Remind your child that you’re thinking about them by including an encouraging note in their backpack or lunchbox.




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