Kimberly Bertucci, DNP, FNP
It’s time for the kids to head back to school! And that means a focus on classes, sports and other after-school activities. Most children need help transitioning back into a routine for a successful start to the school year. Here are a few back-to-school tips to help your kid get into a healthy school routine.
1. Developing a Back-to-School Sleep Routine
Going back to school means an end to staying up late. To get your kids ready to wake up earlier for school, you should:
- Make their bedtimes a little early each night for a week or two weeks before school
- Put electronic devices away because it can disrupt their sleep
- Keep their room dark, quiet and at the right temperature
2. Getting your child back in the habit of eating three regular meals a day
Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy.
- If your child’s school provides breakfast, make sure they get to school early to eat breakfast or provide breakfast at home
- If you are packing your child’s lunch, stock up on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and lean protein.
- If the school lunch is your go-to, find out about lunch options and meal schedules ahead of time.
- Inform the school if your child has any food allergies.
3. Managing Stress from School
Back-to-school season is stressful for kids and parents alike, but too much stress can lead to a variety of health issues.
- Talking to your children about anything that’s bothering them
- Do not overload their schedules at home
- Give them time to relax and wind down after school
- Play and spend time as a family to minimize stress
4. Developing Good Study Habits
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
- Create a quiet, consistent environment conductive for doing homework
- Schedule a regular time for homework
- Establish a rule that the tv and other electronic devices are off during homework
- Be available to answer questions or offer assistance to your child.
- Schedule breaks during homework time. It may be helpful to close the book and get up and stretch.
- If your child is struggling in a subject, meet with the teacher or counselor to determine a solution.
Kimberly Bertucci, DNP, FNP is a Nurse Practicioner for Crescent City Physicians, Inc. She specializes in family medicine.