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Tips for a Smooth Back-to-School Transition

About The Author

Dr. Carl Peluso

Pediatrician

Ascension Medical Group

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After a few months of the carefree days of summer, it’s time for kids to get back to a more structured school-year routine. But don’t wait until classes begin to start the transition. The best time to get back into the swing of things is now.

Here are a few tips to prepare for the upcoming school year:

  • Slowly shift bedtime and wake up times. For the most success, shift no more than 30 minutes each day leading up to the start of the school year.
  • Get a backpack that fits and make sure the straps are adjusted to the right length. It’s also important to make sure it’s not too heavy once it’s packed with supplies. A good rule of thumb is to keep backpack weight to no more than 10-20 percent of your child’s body weight. If your child’s backpack weighs more than that, consider removing a few items.
  • Plan healthy, easy-to-prepare meals. Kids need enough fuel to get through the school day. Start them off with a healthy breakfast such as oatmeal with sliced banana, eggs with toast, or a yogurt parfait. For lunch, you can help your child review school menu options or pack a brown bag lunch.
  • Plan a visit to school before classes begin so kids can find their classrooms and lockers. This is especially important if kids are going to school for the first time or transitioning to a new school.
  • Review transportation to and from school. If kids will take the bus, help them find the bus stop before the first day of school. If they’ll ride a bike to school, make sure they have a proper-fitting helmet and understand the rules of the road.
  • Meet the teachers before the school year starts to discuss your child’s strengths and weaknesses and get off on the right foot. It’s a good time to create an open dialogue and let teachers know you’d like feedback throughout the school year.
  • Talk to your child’s school if he or she has any special needs or allergies so arrangements can be made in advance.

It’s also a good idea for all school-age kids to get an annual physical with a pediatrician. Along with checking height, weight and other vitals, your doctor can screen for mental health issues and talk about safety issues and stress and bullying. Your doctor can also make sure your child is up to date on needed vaccines and immunizations.

To find a pediatrician near you, reach out to your health insurance provider.

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