With the new school year underway, Rachel Dawkins, M.D., medical director and director of Clinical Experiences for Physicians in Training at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital provides tips to make the first day of school and the school year easier.
What do parents need to know to help their children on their first day of school?
Remember that some kids are very nervous or anxious about the first day of school. Be positive and try to calm their fears. Introducing them to their teacher ahead of time or doing a practice run to the school might make the first day a little easier.
How can parents help ease some of this anxiety?
- Reminding your child about the positive aspects of starting school: seeing old friends and making new ones
- Let your child know that it is normal to feel nervous about the first day of school—and most other kids and even teachers might be nervous
- If possible, introduce your child to another child who will be riding the bus or walking the same route to school. Familiar faces help.
Most kids have gotten out of the usual school-time sleep pattern. How important is sleep and how do we get our kids back into a good routine?
Sleep is so important. Most kids require 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Without a good night’s sleep, children have been shown to have behavioral and learning problems at school.
It’s important to get your kids back into the school night bedtime routine. It can take up to 10 days to adjust to a new sleep schedule.
Roll back bedtime to their usual hour, stop all electronics at least one hour before bedtime and limit caffeine.
What about backpacks? So many kids are carrying so many books!
Backpacks should never weigh more than 10-20 percent of your child’s body weight. Encourage your child to leave some books at school and to occasionally clean out the backpack.
Pick a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and encourage your child to use both straps. Consider a rolling backpack if your school.
This information was shared on WTVT-TV’s Doc on Call segment, which is aimed at helping parents learn more about children’s health issues. The segment airs each Monday morning on Good Day Tampa Bay.