With the kids now back in school, here are a few last minute thoughts to ensure that your kids are well prepared for making this school year as productive and safe as possible.
Eat Well and Hydrate – You’ve heard it before, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” For your kids this is especially true. Send them off with bellies full of healthy, nutritious fuel that will help them through their days. Dried fruits are great, as is trail mix, small containers of yogurt or cereal, the always-popular peanut butter and banana sandwich or a rich fruit smoothie. But, don’t overlook stocking their lunch boxes with plenty of fresh water in which they can sip throughout the day. They’ll be doing a lot of running around at school, so make sure they’re well hydrated.
Avoid back problems – They’re not just for parents anymore. Kids can develop back problems from carrying the weight of schoolbooks incorrectly. If your kids wear backpacks, make sure they fit properly. The shoulder straps need to be tight, and pull the weight of the pack as close to the back as possible. And remember, they should only be carrying 10% to 20% of their body weight in their backpacks. More than that is just too much.
Get Lots of Sleep – Kids just need more sleep than grownups. Proper sleep will allow them to be more alert, so they can pay attention to their teachers. Most families change their kid’s sleep patterns during the summer. Now is the time to get them back on a sleep schedule that will allow them to maximize their time at school. Elementary-age school children need 10+ hours each night. Middle school kids need an average of 9.5 to 10 hours, and high schoolers need 9 to 9.5 hours. Keep in mind that many middle and high school-age students need to be up by 6 a.m. to make the bus. Schedule their bedtimes accordingly.
Update Immunizations – You’ve probably gotten these out of the way by now, but if not, make sure your children’s immunizations (measles, mumps, polio and any infectious diseases specified by your health department) are up to date, if required by the school system.
Check for Allergies – Asthma and allergies are the main cause of children missing school. If your kid seems to be staying home a lot, rule out allergies by having them tested.
Blow Off Steam – Just like you at the end of the workday, your kids need time to blow off a little steam. They’re under a lot of pressure to excel, especially right at the start of the school year, and that causes a great deal of stress. Make sure they have time every day to let loose and just be kids. This stage in their lives goes by quickly. Make sure they enjoy it.