Tips for Going Back To School

It’s that time again–children are heading back to school. As kids get ready, parents need to do their homework to ensure a successful academic year.

Here are things to remember when preparing your child to go back to school:

  • Backpacks that are overloaded or fit poorly can hurt girls and boys. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, when the school backpack is full, it weighs no more than 20 percent of your child’s total body weight. The academy also advises to help kids avoid back strain by packing backpacks with the heaviest item where it would reach the middle of the child’s back. Using both shoulder straps also helps kids to prevent backaches.
  • Traveling to and from school, encourage children to wear their seat belts on the school bus and to stay in their seats while the bus is moving. If your child walks to school, try to get a bunch of students to walk together with one parent.
  • Monitor your child’s wellness by paying attention to the cafeteria menu in advance. Guide your child to choose the healthiest options while away from home–to avoid juice and soft drinks and increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Encourage exercise and socializing during recess.
  • For returning home after school, set a specific time for your child to be there. If there’s no adult home then, the child can call you to check in, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises.
  • Encourage good habits for homework and studying by creating an environment that enhances concentration. A quiet, organized, well-lit space with appropriate supplies will allow children to do their best work. Keep the TV off and limit Internet to appropriate sites until all homework is finished. Answer any questions, but do not do your children’s homework for them. Use checklists and a calendar marked with upcoming tests and project due-dates to help children stay organized.
  • Bullying is repeated intimidation or harassment; bullying can be verbal or physical. Keep communication flowing with your children and reinforce the importance of standing up for themselves and asking for help when necessary. Alert school officials to any problems and work with them on solutions.

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