The last month of summer is upon us and the new school year is just around the corner! No matter how fun-filled the summer days were, a new school year brings additional excitement. Children may have uneasy feelings about going back to school with new teachers and new faces. Parents can also be anxious about the first day of school, especially if their little one is going to a new school, or attending school for the first time.

To avoid absences and disrupting the first days of school, make sure your children have up-to-date immunizations; schedule appointments for physicals, vision and dental exams before school starts. In addition, ensure your children are getting a sufficient amount of sleep and eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich breakfast.

Although it is normal to be apprehensive in any new situation, children sometimes develop physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches associated with going back to school. If you are concerned that your child’s worries go beyond the normal back-to-school jitters, speak with your child’s doctor, teacher, or school counselor.

Did You Know?

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people aged 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
  • Recent studies show that children who exercise regularly have improved brain function.
  • Only 15% of your bodyweight should be carried in your backpack (NIH).

Tips for Preparation:

  1. Establish a regular sleep schedule. Practice waking up early the week before school begins.
  2. Review drop-off and pick-up procedures with your child. Make sure your child knows where he or she needs to go and what needs to be done after school.
  3. Include need-to-know information in your child’s belongings. This should include your child’s address and phone number, emergency contact information, and may also include teacher and bus driver names and locker combinations.
  4. Take a tour of the school. Ask if a school map is available or if your child can be paired up with another student, or ‘buddy,’ to help adjust to new people and surroundings.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids Health, Greatist, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Head Start Association, National Institutes for Health, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.