Broderick Rhyant, M.D., chief physician executive Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor
Now that summer is winding down, parents face the challenging task of getting their kids ready for school, and that entails much more than just preparing them for the first day. From getting the right amount of sleep to eating the right foods, there are a number of ways parents can help their kids prepare for a healthy and successful school year.
Those ranging from kindergarten age through college all face the reality of giving up weeks of fun and relaxation, and returning to the routine of going back to school and facing the demands and pressures that come with that.
We recommend that parents begin a transitioning period a week or two before school starts that includes talking to their kids about what’s expected at school and how they may best succeed.
In preparing children for their new five-day-a-week routine, start their bedtime about 10 minutes earlier each night as the first day of school draws near and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning, every day, until they’re back on track. Advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about how much sleep children should get each night is found here:
One of the obstacles for children to overcome in going to sleep at the proper time is overstimulation from playing video games, texting on their cell phones, and dealing with the glowing light from televisions and tablets. Doing your best to separate your children from those distractions well before bedtime will help them get more restful sleep.
Discuss what your kids are nervous about in going back to school and help them look for ways to work through it. If it’s getting on the bus, for example, go over the bus route and walk to the bus stop before school starts to help your child become familiar and comfortable. Being there during the initial encounter can help alleviate some anxiety when they face situations alone.
Parents should help children choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. Go through the pack with your child weekly and remove unneeded items to keep it from getting too heavy.
Taking your child to the pediatrician’s office shortly before school begins will help alleviate the anxiety of wondering if all medical records and vaccinations are current, and it’s also the perfect time for a sports physical.
For more information on Eskenazi Health, visit: www.EskenaziHealth.edu. Please call Eskenazi Health Connections at 317.880.7666 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatricians.