School will be in session again before you know it. Whether your kids are excited to return to school or dread the end of summer, it’s vital to prepare now. The Green Hills pediatric team has gathered some of the best back to school tips that will help you and your kids make the transition back into an academic year routine.
Back To School Tips
Get Plenty of Sleep
Summertime often means kids’ bedtime routines go out the window. Vacations, camps, and other activities invite loose routines, sometimes to families’ detriment. Your kids may have a hard time settling down at night, particularly if your summer has involved a great deal of traveling and new places. Follow these tips to make sure your kids are getting the sleep they need:
- Ease back into regular bedtimes. About a month before school starts, begin pushing bedtime up by 15 minutes, then 20, then 30, until you reach “school year” bedtime. On weekends, do not allow kids to stay up more than 30 minutes past their usual bedtime.
- Encourage quiet bedtime activities. Stop all screen time at least 60 minutes before bed. Tuck in younger kids and read a soothing story or sing a lullaby. Encourage older kids to read in bed.
Summer can be a smorgasbord of junk food – ice cream, sodas, hot dogs, funnel cakes; you name it. While everyone needs a treat now and then, too much junk food can make kids hyper, fatigued, and nauseated. If your child experiences many headaches and stomachaches or seems lethargic, he or she may be eating too much sugar, salt, and fat. To avoid junk food fallout, try these tips:
- Get kids used to eating what they will at school. Serve healthy sandwiches for lunch (i.e., lean meats, low-fat peanut butter). Make sure all meals come with at least one fruit or vegetable.
- Make fruit and veggies fun. Enlist the kids’ help in making vegetable kabobs for the grill, or offer homemade frozen fruit pops instead of ice cream.
- Choose low-fat string cheese, nuts, or fruit slices for snacks instead of crackers and granola bars, which may have empty carbs.
Let Them Fail
Despite your best efforts, your kids may flounder when school starts. Don’t be surprised if homework gets lost or isn’t done at all. If you let your second-grader buy his or her lunch, don’t freak out if he or she fills up on desserts and comes home hungry. Let the child experience reasonable consequences. For example, a bad grade might be occasion to say, “That’s too bad. I bet it happened because you forgot your homework. What can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”