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Start the School Year Healthy

How do you start the school year healthy?

Well-rested and Well-fed

It helps to start establishing routines before the first day of classes, such as adhering to a regular sleep schedule and eating a healthy breakfast daily. The fewer changes you have to make, the easier it will be to adjust.

Protected from Illnesses

Arizona requires immunizations for children attending day care, preschool, and grades K-12. You can download the Arizona immunization requirements in English or Spanish. If you have any questions or concerns about vaccines, please speak with your pediatrician. We know you want the best for your kids.

With a Positive Attitude

Some kids feel excited to go back to school, and others dread the return of the academic year. If your child doesn’t want to go back to school, ask them why. Perhaps they feel nervous about making friends, or perhaps they feel bored in class. Communicate to identify the problem and talk about how to make it better. Focus on things they’re looking forward to as well.

If your child’s anxiety persists beyond the first week or so and you can’t determine the cause, consider involving the school counselor or, for older children, discuss coping mechanisms and ask if they’d like to see a counselor. Mental health is part of whole health, and there is no shame in asking for support.

Prepared

In addition to the list of school supplies, make sure your child picks out an academic planner he or she likes. Have them get into the habit of writing down their homework, when permission slips are due, and other important dates. Make note of extracurriculars so that they can learn to manage their time when they have to balance homework with clubs and activities.

Do your kids seem hyper at night and groggy in the morning? If so, make getting ready for school part of your nighttime routine. It will help them wind down and reduce the tasks they need to focus on in the morning. Have them double check to make sure they did all their homework, pack their bag, and set it by the door with their shoes. Have them pick out clothing for the next day, and pick out what they want for breakfast, before going to bed.

Focused

Make homework a distraction-free activity, and screen-free if possible. If your child has homework on the computer, consider using an app like StayFocusd to temporarily block distracting websites. Never do homework for your child, but help them work through any challenges they might be having.

Balanced

Your child’s school years are about academics, social skills, and developing interests. All of these areas prepare them to lead a balanced adult life. Each child will have different strengths and challenges. Let them know you’re not demanding perfection, but encouraging them to do their best. Work on personal goal-setting and good work/study habits to prepare them for a successful, happy future.

Speaking of balance, don’t forget to weigh your child’s backpack and adjust the straps periodically. More about backpack safety

With Clear Expectations

Every household has different rules. When your child goes to school, they might come home and report that other kids are allowed to do or have things they are not allowed to have or do. Perhaps some of their third grade friends have smart phones, or some of their eleventh grade peers have a late curfew. Ultimately, you are responsible for deciding what’s best for your child, and we’re here to answer your questions. We can’t decide for you, but we can share our professional opinions based on resources like the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Posted in Blog on August 31st, 2017