As the new school year gears up, it is an important time to prepare your child for success. Ensuring that they are prepared and organized can lead to higher performance both academically and socially. As a parent, you can help them thrive by applying these key guidelines:
Nutrition affects performance
Make sure your child eats at least some form of a healthy breakfast before the school day. Don’t accept, “I’m not hungry,”. Something as minor as a healthy bowl of cereal, toast or some pieces of fruit is better than no breakfast at all. Don’t let them choose a sugary breakfast, snacks, or drinks! Consuming too much sugar can cause brain and body fatigue during the school day.
If your child requires medication for focusing and hyperactivity during the year, it is especially important to get them a healthy breakfast as these medications can reduce appetite throughout the day.
Sleep is important
Most school-aged children need 10-11 hours of sleep a night! During the summer months, bedtime routines are often relaxed, so it is important to reestablish a consistent bedtime routine at least 2 weeks before the new school year begins so that your child’s system adjusts to the earlier bedtime. Also begin waking them up earlier in the morning so that morning alarm is not too much of a shock to the system come day one!
Make sure the bedtime routine doesn’t include screen time (TV, video games, DVDs, cell phone games) in the hour prior to bedtime, as this will make it harder for children to fall asleep due to stimulation.
School attendance is a must
Don’t let kids stay home because they are too tired or don’t feel well unless you think they truly need to see a doctor. A lot of times in the fall, anxiety can mimic not feeling well in the form of stomachaches, fatigue, etc. Ask your child about school and make sure nothing is happening that the teacher or principal needs to know about. Come up with healthy reward plans for getting children to go to school. Reaching out to the school counselor or school psychologist might also be of benefit.
Check their backpack
Your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 10% to 20% of their body weight. Make sure they always use both shoulder straps and do not carry the backpack over one shoulder. Properly fitted shoulder straps help apply the weight of the back to the torso and do not pull backwards on the spine.
Help them get organized
Feeling left out by not having the right supplies is a stressful feeling for a young student. Make sure they are properly prepared with needed school supplies and have a clear way to write down assignments and due dates. When children keep up academically early in the year, it instills confidence that they are smart and can achieve great things during the school year.
If your child is attending a new school, do a trial run of going to the new school the week before to familiarize them with the campus and classroom locations so that they are not lost and flustered on day one.