Start the School Year Prepared
-by Marnie Burton, RN, MSN, CPNP
It is hard to believe that summer is almost over and children will soon be heading back to school! Most kids are both excited and nervous about starting school after a fun filled summer. They are excited to see friends and start activities in school and after school. However, many children are also apprehensive; they often worry about what their teacher will be like, how much homework they will get, if they will know their way around the school, and even if they will have someone to sit with at lunch, especially if they are transitioning to a new school.
Parents can help their child make the transition from a relaxed summer schedule to the more fast paced school year schedule by preparing a few weeks before school starts. Getting the school year off to a good start can help relieve some of your child's apprehension, and improve their confidence and academic performance.
2 weeks prior to the start of school:
- Keep a family calendar and folder with important papers that come in the mail from your child's school. Mark important dates as soon as they come in so that you don't miss back to school night or important deadlines for paperwork. Keep copies of your child's health (school) form handy which they will need throughout the year for sports, camps and field trips.
- Re-establish school year bedtime routines. Children and adolescents need time to adjust back to getting up earlier. The best way to do this is start going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting up 15 minutes earlier until they are back to their school year schedule.
- Re-establish meal schedules that coincide with their school year schedule, this will help with their sleep schedule as well. Make sure your child is getting fruits, vegetables and plenty of calcium in their daily diets.
- Don't forget breakfast. Get together a list of quick and nutritious breakfasts for those busy mornings before school. Do the same if they like a packed lunch so that it is not a stressor on school mornings.
- Establish a quiet work space and schedule for your child to get homework and projects done. Younger children who need assistance should be in the kitchen or family room. Adolescents will benefit from a quiet workspace in their bedrooms away from distractions. Developing good work habits at the beginning of the school year will help them later in the year when the work gets more challenging.
- Do a dry run to ease any first-timer nerves: get dressed, eat breakfast and drive or walk the route to school; eat a packed school lunch at home. Draw up the school day schedule and talk about routines regularly.
- Make sure your child is in good physical and mental health. Schedule well child exams yearly to be sure your child is growing and developing as he/she should and up to date on his/her vaccines. Let us know what your concerns are at their well child exams, good mental (emotional) health is as important as good physical health.
1 week to 1 day before school starts
- Many kids hurt their shoulders and backs by carrying around too much weight in their backpacks. Remember to put backpack straps over both shoulders. Consider a rolling backpack if they carry a lot of heavy books.
- Turn off the TV, especially in the morning before school. Establish rules for screen time such as TV, video games and computer for the school week. It will help to start the school year with a firm set of rules regarding screen time.
- Arrange for play dates with friends they haven't seen during the summer, your child will feel better about the first day of school if they know they have someone to talk to.
- Have a positive attitude about the upcoming school year and remind your child about good times they have had in the past in school. Do not plan many activities after school the first week so that you and your child can establish a homework routine and schedule.
|The first day of school-for Kids|
- Get a good night of sleep!
- Eat a healthy breakfast!
- Pack your backpack the night before!
- Keep positive and try your best!
- It's ok to be a little nervous!