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Back-to-School Checklist: 7 Tips to Get Back in the Groove

It’s been a great summer, but now it’s time to get back into the groove of classes, sports, and unfortunately getting up early again. Creating healthy habits and routines for your child in September can make all the difference for a successful year ahead while taking some pressure off you!

So if you want to help your children make a healthy transition back to school, consider these tips to get them off on the right foot.

Tip 1: Teach Good Hygiene Habits

As colds and flus start spreading around the classrooms, the number one way to fight germs is by practicing good hygiene.

  • Encourage regular handwashing with soap and hot water.
  • Singing the alphabet or “Happy Birthday” is an easy and fun way to ensure kids spend enough time washing their hands.
  • Get your child in a habit of brushing and flossing daily.
  • Use oral hygiene products in your child’s favorite flavors or beloved cartoon characters.
  • Remind your children to cough or sneeze into their elbows or sleeves.

  • Tip 2: Encourage Healthy Eating

    Make That Morning Meal Mandatory

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. 
  • Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast perform better in school, have better concentration, and more energy. 
  • Eating eggs and whole grain toast or fruit and yogurt are great choices to kick off the day.

  • Eating During the School Day

  • Pack healthy lunches and snacks to keep your children going throughout the day.
  • Stock up on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread and lean protein like turkey to make it easier for yourself. 
  • The cafeteria can present a number of problems for those with food allergies so discuss any concerns with the school nurse.

  • Avoid Eating Late

  • If dinner is late, keep it light. Eating a big meal just before bed can make it hard to fall asleep.

  • Tip 3: Backpack Safety

    Heavy and unorganized backpacks can cause shoulder, neck, and back strain that affects the posture of young people, especially when they are still growing. To ensure proper backpack safety, you should:

  • Choose a backpack with wide shoulder straps and padded back. The bottom of the pack should sit at your child’s waist.
  • Make sure your child uses both straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder creates misalignments that strain muscles.
  • Go through their pack weekly and remove unnecessary items to keep it as light as possible.
  • Doctors recommend that a backpack should never weigh more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight.
  • Organize the pack so that the heaviest objects are placed in the middle and all of the compartments are utilized.

  • Tip 4: Establish a Sleep Routine

    Long summer days can often lead to late night free-for-alls. This may be fine in the summer but sleep loss can take a toll on students causing poor school performance, behavior issues, and susceptibility to illness. 

  • Get your child reacquanited with a regular bedtime and normal sleep routines before the academic year starts.
  • To get your kids ready to wake up earlier, move their bedtime back 10 - 15 minutes over the course of the first week of school.
  • About an hour before bedtime, we encourage unplugging from the use of electronic devices (TV, phones, computers).
  • If the sun may still be out when your child is going to sleep, consider darkening shades to block out any distracting light.
  • Avoid anything with caffeine after noon.

  • Tip 5: Vaccinate, Vaccinate, Vaccinate!

    Since many schools require certain vaccinations before children enroll in school, it is important to make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date.

  • Talk to your doctor to find out which ones are recommended depending on your child’s age.
  • The American Academy of Pediatricians has a list of vaccinations per age group if you are looking for a good resource.

  • Tip 6: Get Moving

    Statistics show that childhood obesity has doubled while adolescent obesity has quadrupled over the last 30 years. Incorporating sports and exercise into your children's daily routine is a great way to keep them healthy.

  • Sign your children up for organized after school activities such soccer, basketball, dance, or gymnastics.
  • Make exercise a family activity as well such as going on bike rides or walks together.

  • Tip 7: Dealing With Bullying

    When Your Child Is Bullied

  • If you suspect something serious, talk with the teachers as soon as you can.
  • Never take “fine” for an answer since kids will rarely say that they are being bullied.
  • Dig a little deeper with questions about specific classes, what the teachers are like, and any new friends they have made.
  • Find a specific teacher or person at the school that your child is comfortable with and knows that they can ask for help.
  • Monitor your child's social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.

  • When Your Child Is the Bully

    While it may be hard to believe, sometimes it may be your child that is the one doing the bullying.

  • Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
  • Use effective, nonphysical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
  • Focus on rewarding your child when they help or are kind to other children. This helps them learn how to show empathy.

  • When Your Child Is a Bystander

  • It is very important to teach your child to tell a trusted adult when they witness bullying so they can put a stop to it immediately.
  • You can also encourage your child to invite those getting bullied or feel isolated over for a play date.

  • Now it's time to hit the books!

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