As the summer comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your children for back to school.
Beyond the new clothes and school supplies, make sure your children are prepared for school success in other ways as well:
- Meals. Provide healthy meal options and snacks to keep your children energetic and focused. While everyone in the family may have a hectic schedule, take the time to eat dinner together most nights of the week. This helps you model good eating habits and keeps you up-to-date on what’s going on in their lives.
- Don’t weigh them down. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends choosing a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Both straps should be used to prevent strained muscles. Pack light, and organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child's body weight.
- Sleep. As outlined in a previous blog post, getting enough sleep is crucial for school success. Most school-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep a night, but it is not too late to prepare your children for the upcoming school year. The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting an incrementally earlier bedtime for your child each night, and an incrementally earlier wake-up time each morning, all while making sure he or she gets the right amount of sleep for his or her age group.
- Bus safety. If your children ride the school bus, teach them about entering and exiting the bus safely, crossing the street, watching for traffic and how to wait safely at the bus stop. Drivers should also remember to slow down and be alert, especially near school bus stops.
Best wishes for a happy and successful school year!