Summer is starting to wind down and a new school year is ready to kick off. Whether you and your kiddos are feeling anxious or excited, we have a few tips to help the whole family ease into the transition.
Get Organized and Prepared
Start back-to-school shopping early to get new clothes and supplies. If you’re in search of a new backpack, look to select one your child is comfortable with and won’t cause them pain. Your child should be able to keep the straps snuggly fastened, but not too tight, and carry necessities with ease.
For your supply list, be sure to add extra hand sanitizer and tissues so your child is prepared to fight off any germs they may come in contact with. This is also a good time to remind your child about good hygiene techniques, such as:
Cleaning their hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer
Covering their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue in the garbage
Refraining from sharing drinks or snacks with other students
Letting you or a teacher know if they aren’t feeling well
It’s also a great time to stock up on easy-to-pack, healthy lunch items that boost the mind and body, such as cereal, granola bars and fruit. Having everything in place before the first day of school will lift the mood of the whole family.
If your kids are attending a new school, reach out to other parents and try to set up time so the kids can get to know one another before school starts. Ask the school to recommend local clubs or groups that your kids could join to meet potential classmates, either in person or virtually.
Adjust Their Routine
When your child goes back to the classroom, they are likely to have a different bedtime and wake-up time, among other changes. Setting and maintaining a routine for the school year is important to kids so they don’t become overwhelmed.
The structure of routine will make your kids feel more comfortable and know what to anticipate on a daily basis. Make sure your child knows your expectations in terms of things like chores, homework and meals.
Help your child organize their school essentials in advance, including their backpack, homework, packed lunch or lunch money, jacket and shoes. Having these items ready to go by the door gives everyone less to stress about during the weekday morning rush.
You can also “talk up” the benefits of your child’s school. This may mean focusing on how nice the playground is for recess, how they get to ride the bus to school like a “big kid” or how it’s so cool they get to go to art or music class every week.
Listen to How They’re Feeling
Once school begins, make conversations about your child’s day an expected part of your family routine. Dinnertime is a great opportunity to ask your child about the best part of his or her day, along with the most challenging aspects. Finding out sooner rather than later that your child is having a rough start increases the chances you can help them turn it around and achieve success in school.
Is your child stressed or anxious about being back at school? Talk to them about it and listen to their feelings. Watch for signs of stress, such as aggression, crying or mood swings. Try to discuss why they may be feeling uneasy and address it with your child’s pediatrician, if necessary.
Schedule a Physical
Be sure to stay up to date on your child’s checkups and physicals, whether in person or by video visit.
Back-to-school physicals (also called well-child exams) are a chance for the pediatrician to evaluate your child’s growth and development, screen for common childhood conditions and make sure immunizations are up to date.
Before the visit, think about any questions you have related to your child’s health. Maybe you’re worried about your child’s new routine, sleep habits, screen time or fitness level. If so, be sure to write your questions down. Back-to-school physicals can be busy, and it’s easy to forget what you wanted to ask.
When you check-in for your child’s appointment, let the care provider know about your questions so they can give the doctor a heads up.
We’re Here to Help
If you need support in managing the stress of a new school year, or to schedule a physical, find a doctor who will be your child’s partner in whole health today. For more information on children’s care at AdventHealth, click here.