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7 Ways to Have a Healthy Back-to-School Experience

Going back to school in the fall can be a rude awakening – literally. To get back in the routine as healthy as possible – and stay healthy – consider the following seven tips:
  1. Adjust your sleep – If your family has been in a summer habit of going to bed late and sleeping late, it can help to adjust your schedule before summer ends. Beginning about two weeks before the first day of school, go to bed earlier and wake up incrementally earlier. Then, stick with the plan when school begins so that your child has ample sleep. Weekends shouldn’t be for catching up on missed sleep.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast – Start the day with fuel to help with focus and mood balance. Eating breakfast can also help with weight management by avoiding an overly hungry feeling. And remember that what your children eat is important, too. More protein and fiber and less sugar can help with attention, concentration and memory.
  3. De-stress the details – Kids have a lot on their minds. Grades, homework, activities and even world news can create stress. To help reduce stress, consider school details ahead of time so that your child is prepared. Write down things such as schedules, names to remember, locker numbers or combination and/or phone numbers. Prepare clothes, homework, books, supplies and even lunch or snack the night before school days to avoid a last-minute scramble.
  4. Consider backpack weight – Doctors recommend that children carry no more than 10-15 percent of body weight in their backpacks. That’s not as much as it seems if a child has several books or supplies. Kids should wear both straps to balance weight instead of just one strap flung over the shoulder.
  5. Approve medications – If your child will need to take medication at school, even to help with an occasional headache, then the school will need permission from a parent, guardian or physician. Take care of approving medications before your child needs them, and alert the school of any medical conditions such as food allergies, asthma or diabetes.
  6. Make a homework plan – Start the year out right by creating a structured place and time for doing homework and try to stick with it. Help kids focus by having no TV or social media during homework. Coach your children about what it takes to prepare for learning. You’ll all be thankful when report card time comes.
  7. Listen carefully – In our busy world, it’s easy to multi-task. Try to resist the multi-temptation and stop to truly listen, letting your child know that you care about what he or she has to say. Nothing says, “I love you” like eye contact, active listening and connecting with what the child has to say.
A new school year brings new challenges, and some children are better at navigating transitions than others. Parents getting ahead of the process can ease the changes, making it smoother for everyone.

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