Five back to school tips to help ease the transition
As summer draws to a close and school looms near, now is the time to help your children establish the routine they need to be successful this school year. Follow these tips to help your kids have the healthy foundation they need to overcome challenges they face along the way.
1. Start early when establishing sleep schedules
During the summer, it can be easy to get into the habit of staying up late and sleeping in. But when school starts, your little one will have no choice but to rise before the sun, so make sure they go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Begin a week or two before the start of school to allow time to adjust. Help your children reset their biological clocks by going to sleep an hour earlier and waking up at a set time. Trade electric devices for books before bed, as illuminated screens can trick the brain into staying awake.
“Getting the proper amount of sleep is as important as any other component of a child’s health,” said Marguerite Vitulski, NP, a nurse practitioner in our Immediate Care Centers. “The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Sleep Medicine have worked together to establish childhood sleep guidelines
for every age bracket from 4 months to 18 years of age. Children from six to 12 years old should sleep nine to twelve hours a night. Teenagers up to 18 need slightly less sleep, between eight and 10 hours per night.”
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2. Pack healthy lunches
Packing your child’s lunch puts you in control of their daily nutrition. Use it as a time to educate them on proper nutrition and let them help you put it together.
Make a similar lunch for yourself to lead by example. If you have a picky eater, let them choose the healthy options they prefer, but continue to introduce new foods as well. They might just find their new favorite treat.
3. Start the year with a clean bill of health
Before you begin the school year, visit your pediatrician to receive a yearly checkup, confirm that your child is up to date on vaccines and complete a basic eye exam. Your pediatrician can also perform a sports physical, which if often mandatory for any child participating in sports.
It’s best to plan ahead to avoid the last-minute rush and have more flexibility in your scheduling. In addition to meeting with your pediatrician, you may also want to schedule a visit with your dentist and, if necessary, an ophthalmologist, to ensure that you are starting the year on the right foot.
Need a quick and easy solution? Our two Immediate Care Centers offer sports physicals for just $45 when paid with cash or credit card
4. Backpack overload
To help avoid injury—both immediate and down the road—always be sure your child’s backpack offers proper support and does not exceed 15% of their body weight
when fully packed.
Ask your pediatrician for how to choose the right ‘pack. To help avoid injury absolutely, consider buying a backpack that comes equipped with a support belt or wheels to help evenly distribute the weight or lighten the load altogether.
“There are a number of things that you can do to make any backpack less likely to cause injury,” said Marguerite. “A few simple things would be to carefully pack a backpack to ensure that the weight is distributed evenly. Also, teach your child the importance of using both shoulder straps at all times."
5. Make the commute a healthy one
The majority of the school day will be spent at their desks, so your child will likely jump at the idea to start their day by stretching their legs and spending a little extra time with you.
Walk or bike to school with your kids, when possible. If you’re schedule doesn’t allow you to commute with them every day, get together with some neighbors and take turns leading the neighborhood kids to form a “walking school bus.”
We've brought two Immediate Care (urgent care) Centers to Chicago's north side, offering the same medical expertise and personal attention you’ve grown to expect from Swedish Hospital. Our new facilities give patients a treatment option for common illnesses and injuries at a lower cost, and with shorter waits, compared to average emergency room visits.
Learn more about our Immediate Care Centers>>
By David Modica | Published August 24, 2017