It’s almost time to send the kids back to school. Here are a few things parents can do to help their children get ready.
Try these A+ tips to prepare for a healthy and happy new school year:
• Get kids back on a regular sleep schedule. Remind older kids that their bodies and brains really DO need 8 hours of solid sleep for optimal mental and physical performance. Have kids hit the sheets at their regular school-night bedtime at least a couple of days before school starts. This way, their bodies have time to adjust, so they won’t feel exhausted on their first day of class.
• Complete school physicals for sports. If you haven’t already, call your pediatrician to make a sports physical appointment and bring along your child’s school forms to the appointment. The physical will be valid for the entire school year.
• Be sure your children’s vaccines are up to date. Protect your own child and the entire community by getting them vaccinated.
• Share any important information about your children’s health or behavior with their teachers. Teachers have a tough and critically important job to do, and the more they know the more they can help your child succeed. They will need your support both at school and at home.
• Update your children’s Food Allergy Action Plan or Asthma Action Plan. If your children have allergies or asthma, take a copy of their plan to school, along with new emergency inhalers or Epi-Pens.
• Plan for healthy lunches. Making school lunches is a labor of love and presents a great opportunity to give kids healthy choices. If your children are eating lunches provided by the school, talk with your kids about making good nutritional selections.
• Ease anxiety. For young kids just starting school, consider making them a small photo book of their family members, pets and favorite things from home, so they can look at it if they experience sad moments during the first week of school.
• Discuss behavioral expectations if your teen’s school has an open campus. As a parent and pediatrician, I don’t believe time spent wandering off campus adds value to the school day. Discuss acceptable ways your teens can use free periods at school.
• Talk about positive friendships. Be willing to listen and help your kids navigate tricky situations that arise with their friends this school year.
• Set goals for the year that are tailored to your child. If your son or daughter is shy, set a goal with them of making one new friend. If they struggle with grades, set some realistic but high goals for academic achievement. And set goals as a family to spend special time together each week. These family moments are important in keeping your kids on track in school and in life.
School is an important arena for our kids, a place and time in which they learn and grow as people. All of your pediatric providers at Eugene Pediatrics are here to help make this year your child’s healthiest, happiest school year, yet!