As kids head back to school this fall, Pershing Health System wants to ensure that your child starts off on the right foot! Follow these tips to help your child have a safe, happy, and productive school year!
Develop a Good Sleep Routine
- Getting enough sleep is critical for children to be successful in school, as a lack of sleep causes difficulty concentrating and learning.
- Set a consistent bedtime for your child and follow through with it each night as best as possible.
- Turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.
- Studies have shown that children who eat a nutritious breakfast have better concentration and more energy, and overall do better in school.
- Many schools provide breakfast in the morning as an option for children who arrive at school early.
- If your child does not have time to eat breakfast at school, please allow time for your child to eat breakfast at home.
- While breakfast cereals and popular breakfast pastries are an easy go-to for breakfast, try to opt for options with protein. Meal planning/prepping ahead of time can make breakfast go much smoother!
- If your child is a picky eater, utilize the school lunch menu to plan ahead so you can pack a lunch for the days where your child may not prefer to eat the lunch offered.
- If you are concerned about being able to afford the school breakfast and/or lunch, talk to your school about applying for free and/or reduced breakfast and lunch.
- Choose a backpack that is appropriate for your child’s size, and has wide, padded shoulder straps.
- Make sure to use all the compartments in the backpack, packing heavier items closest to the center of the back. Your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 10% to 20% of your child’s bodyweight.
- Remind your child to always use both shoulder straps to avoid straining muscles on one side.
School Bus Safety
- If your child is riding a bus to school, remind them to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it, and that your child walks where they can see the bus driver and in return the bus driver can see them.
- Ensure that your child is boarding and exiting the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or school building.
- Remind your child to always look both ways before crossing the street to ensure that there is no traffic coming, just in case someone does not see the school bus stop sign and stop as required.
- As the colder months approach, make sure that your child is dressed appropriately and has a jacket for the cooler morning air while waiting at the bus stop.
- Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social, and can happen in various locations such as at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet/social media, or through texting and other mobile cell phone apps.
- If you suspect your child is being bullied, alert school officials right away so you can work with them on finding a solution.
- Talk to your child about how to ask for a trusted adult for help if the need arises.
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings if they say they are being bullied.
- Help your child learn how to respond in situations of bullying:
- Look the bully in the eye.
- Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
- Walk away
- Use a firm voice and use statements such as “I don’t like what you are doing” and “Please do NOT talk to me like that.”
- Refrain from allowing your child to use social media before the age of 15. If your child does use social media, make sure to monitor their social media accounts or texting interactions so you can identify any potential problems.
- If your child witnesses bullying, encourage them tell a trusted adult about the bullying and to join with others in telling bullies to stop.
- Help your child support other children who may be bullied by encouraging them to include those children in activities they are participating in.
- If your child is engaging in bullying behavior:
- Reinforce to your child that bullying is never okay.
- Help your child learn empathy for other children by asking them to consider how the other child feels about the way your child treated them, and how they would feel if someone treated them that way.
- Use effective, non-physical discipline (such as a loss of privileges), and focus on praising your child when they behave in positive ways (such as being kind or helpful toward other children).
Before and After School Care
- Children require supervision throughout early and middle childhood. A responsible adult should be available to help them get ready and off to school as well as supervise them in the afternoon after school. Children approaching adolescence (11 and 12 year olds) should still have supervision unless they exhibit exceptional maturity for their age.
- If alternate adult supervision is not available, parents should make special efforts to supervise their children from a distance. Children should have a set time when they are expected to arrive at home and should check in with a neighbor or with a parent by phone.
For more back to school tips, you can visit https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/school/Pages/Back-to-School-Tips.aspx.