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Preparing Kids for Back to School

August 19, 2019 | Dr. Elizabeth Olds

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School starts in just a few days. Make sure you and your kids are ready so you can have a successful school year. Here are a few tips to help the transition go smoothly.

Routine

Especially if you have older kids, it’s likely they’ve spent the summer relaxing, staying up late, and sleeping in. The transition back to a school routine can be hard but having a set routine is important so they know what to expect on a daily basis. When tasks become second-nature, it can cut down on some of the chaos. Try implementing these routines this week so they are ready when the first day of school arrives.

  • Morning. Set a consistent wake up time that leaves kids with enough time to wake up, get dressed, brush their teeth, eat breakfast, and complete any other tasks before school
  • After school. The schedule after school may vary depending on extra-curricular activities. However, if you can make it work so that each week has a similar schedule that you can get used to and remember, it will make the running around to activities a little easier.
  • Bedtime. Make sure whatever bed time you set allows for enough sleep. You can also make your morning routine easier by getting into the habit of laying out outfits, making sure bags are packed and putting everything by the door so you’re not scrambling to find it in the morning.

Homework

Creating an area devoted to studying can be beneficial because many times students are susceptible to getting off task. Using a dedicated study area can help your child stay focused and on task because of the way that our brain associates locations with specific activities. Here are three items that make for a good study location:

  • Free of distractions. If a child is in the vicinity of things like video games or televisions, the temptations may quickly get them off task.
  • Good space. Trying to study or work on homework can become a hassle when you are restricted in a small area. Find an area in your house that has an open space for your child to be able to be spread out and organize their work.
  • Never the bed. Though studying on a bed may seem to be an optimal location because of its comfort, a bed is one of the worst places to work. If you study in a bed, your brain will associate that area with “work” and will unintentionally make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

Avoiding Illness

We all know that once the kids go back to school, it feels like the illness is never ending. Here are some tips to stay healthy this school year:

  • Hand washing. Teach your children to frequently wash their hands. Proper handwashing requires 20 seconds with soap and warm water and drying with a paper towel. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol is also a good alternative.
  • Vaccination. While not all illness can be prevented by vaccines, many can. Check with your child’s doctor to make sure they are up to date before school starts.
  • Disinfect surfaces. Germs can live on surfaces but germicides such as chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, and detergents can kill them when used properly.

Family Time

Between running to practices, or helping with a science project that is due tomorrow, finding time for family during the school year can be a struggle. Take a day or even just an evening a few days before school starts to enjoy time together. Have a cookout, go to the park, have a family movie night, or find another activity that fits your family’s agenda.

Dr. Elizabeth Olds is new a pediatrician with Fisher-Titus New Beginnings Pediatrics. For appointments, call 419-668-9400.