Before you know it, it’ll be time for your little ones to head back to school for the 2023 – 2024 academic year! Here are some tips to ensure your child has a healthy, safe, & happy year!
(1) Make The First Day of School Easier For Your Child
- If your child is new to school this year, call the office and see if it’s possible to set up a tour. Attend any available orientations, and even bring them to the playground a few times before school starts so they are more comfortable. “Many children get nervous about new situations, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher. It can be helpful to rehearse heading into the new situation.” (healthychildren.org)
- Remind your child that everyone gets nervous about the first day of school and that their teachers are there to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible in their new classroom.
- Talk to your child about the positives of starting school, such as seeing their friends, meeting new friends, etc.
- Consider starting your child on their school year bedtime routine, so it becomes easier to go to sleep and wake up at an earlier hour than what they were used to during the summer.
(2) Safe Travel To & From School
- If your child is taking the school bus, remind them to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it from the sidewalk.
- Remind your child to look both ways before crossing the street if their bus arrives on the opposite site of the street.
- If your child has a chronic condition that could result in an emergency while riding the bus, make sure that you work with the school personnel to ensure there is a plan in place.
- If your child is riding their bike to school, make sure to practice the route beforehand to make sure they can handle it on their own.
- Always make sure they wear their helmet to and from school, no matter how long or short their ride may be
- Make sure your child knows the “rules of the road” to ensure their safety
- If your child is walking to school, make sure to practice the walk with them for at least the first few days to ensure the walk is safe & that there are crossing guards stationed at the corners where your child will be crossing the street
- Be realistic about whether or not your child is ready to walk to school on their own. According to healthychildren.org, children are typically ready to start walking to school between ages 9 and 11.
- In neighborhoods with greater amounts of traffic, try to start a group where children can walk to school together with one parent accompanying the group, with a possible rotation between parents.
(3) Provide Healthy Eating Options Throughout The Day
- We’ve all heard it before, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” and it’s definitely been proven time and time again. Children that take the time to eat a health & nutritious breakfast tend to function better throughout the day. If you don’t have that much time in the mornings, make sure to pack something they can eat on the way to school or give them money to purchase something at school if there is an option.
- Look into what is being offered at your children’s school cafeteria. If you’re packing your own child’s lunch, it’s best to consider healthier choices.
(4) Develop a Healthy Sleep Routine
- Help your child adjust to their earlier bedtime / earlier wake up time by starting their new routine a week or two before school starts. Getting enough sleep is crucial to your child’s health & has also been proven to directly effect their studies. “Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness.”(healthychildren.org)
- Create a bedtime routine to help your child wind down before their bedtime. This can include a bath, movie, tucking them in, etc. Try to have your child turn off their devices well before their bed time, as it’s been proving that the blue light given off from these devices can cause your child to stay awake longer.