As summer comes to a close, many of us are preparing to send our kids back to school. Whether it’s the first day at a new school, or just the first day of a new grade, the school year can bring feelings of both excitement and nervousness for children and parents alike. Before summer ends, there are a few steps you can take to calm any first day jitters and prepare your child for a successful school year.
Your child’s summer routine, especially meal and bed times, may look vastly different than their school year routine. Try setting a consistent bedtime and encouraging your child to stick to a regular meal and snack schedule two weeks before the first day. That way, it won’t be such an adjustment when the first week of school rolls around.
New school supplies are always an exciting part of the school-year prep. Go through the school supply list with your child to figure out what he or she already has. Avoid unnecessary spending by sticking to the list, but be sure to allow some personalization by having your child select the supplies. Make sure that your child picks a backpack that is right for his or her size – according to the National Institutes of Health, a backpack should weigh no more than 15% of your child’s bodyweight.
If your child seems nervous about starting the new school year, it may help to familiarize them with their school routine. Take advantage of open houses and orientations so that your child can visit the classroom and meet their new teacher before the first day. If you have any concerns about the upcoming school year, don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher or administrators ahead of time. Check out more tips for a healthy school year below!
Healthy School Year Tips & Tricks
- Review Drop-off and pick-up procedures – Make sure your child knows how they will get to and from school and where he or she needs to go. It may be helpful to do a trial run-through of the walk to the bus stop or the bike route to school.
- Set goals–Goals don’t have to be academic. Your child may want to try a new sport, learn to play an instrument, or read 10 books.
- Fuel the school day – Healthy breakfasts and lunches can help your child stay focused throughout the school day.
- Schedule, but don’t over schedule – The school year can be a stressful time for parents too! Try limiting your child to one or two extracurricular activities to avoid extra stress on your already busy schedule.
Sources: CDC, University of California Irvine, Shape. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.