Back-to-school tips for a successful year
Published 11:12 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023
BY NICOLE SHIELDS, M.D.
Covenant Health Claiborne Primary Care
The summer season will give way to backpacks and lunch boxes before you know it. School starts in Claiborne County for students in early August, and a few tips could go a long way toward settling more easily into the routine.
Sleep is Important
Pediatric research has found that children who typically sleep for 10 hours or more each night have better socio-emotional, learning engagement, and academic outcomes.
Research supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics states most children need eight to 10 hours of sleep a night. Start with setting an expectation and goal for bed and wakeup times. You may have to work towards this in increments of about 15 minutes every few days before school starts.
Getting that good night’s sleep can be easier with healthy habits. For example, our office recommends a rule of no phones in the bedroom.
If this is impossible to change, then at least have the expectation that phones are turned off or on do not disturb and placed in their room where they would have to get up and walk over to get it instead of sleepily grabbing it to scroll mindlessly when they need to be asleep.
Better ways to wind down before bedtime are listening to music, drawing, reading, journaling, and even meditation. Sleep routines can be a great habit to start at any age.
Fuel Up for Success
The same strategy of setting expectations and goals can be applied to helping children get on a schedule with meals, moving the time of each day’s meals and snacks gradually.
Understanding what the school schedule is for eating is helpful to know when they’re going to have breakfast, lunch, and a snack, and then mimicking that at home is a good place to start. Find out if your school allows snacks in book bags or lockers, and then make sure kids have healthy, protein-filled, brain-healthy foods.
As a mom, some of my favorite foods to send to school with my own children are dried fruit, cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, and nuts (as allowed).
Starting school can be stressful for some children, especially if it’s a significant change from the previous year. Every child is different, and some don’t adapt to change and other stressful situations as well as others.
Finding out what your child may be fearful of or what they have questions about is a good place to start. If you’re concerned your child may be the victim of bullying or harassment, approaching the teacher and appropriate authorities at the school, working together to create a plan that keeps every student safe.
Don’t hesitate to discuss mental and physical health concerns with your child’s primary care provider, who can provide insight, resources, and support.
It’s OK to ask questions. That’s what we’re here for.
Claiborne Primary Care specializes in the treatment of the whole patient across all stages of life – from newborns to seniors. Comprehensive medical services are available from age-appropriate immunizations, wellness exams, and acute illnesses to care for chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Claiborne Primary Care is a member of Covenant Medical Group, the physician practice group of Covenant Health.