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The start of a new school year is an exciting time as children get ready for a new year of learning and seeing their friends. But it can also be difficult as kids must adjust to a new schedule and new routines. Follow these tips to ensure you and your child are feeling confident to start a new school year!

Backpack Safety

Your child will have many things to carry to and from school every day. Follow these tips to ensure they have a proper backpack to hold their things safely and comfortably:

  • Choose a backpack with wide padded straps and a padded back.
  • Adjust the backpack so the bottom hits at your child’s waist.
  • Pack heavier items closest to the center of your child’s back.
  • The total weight of a backpack should not be more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight.

Nutrition

Getting proper nutrition throughout the day has many benefits and is important for supporting mental and physical development in children. It can be hard for kids to transition from eating whenever they’re hungry during the summer to having specific meal and snack times at school. Follow these tips to help your kids feel good throughout the day:

  • A few weeks before school starts, try to introduce more consistent meal and snack times throughout the day.
  • Try to include all food groups— fruits and veggies, protein, carbs, and fat— in their diet to create a satisfying and balanced meal.
  • Prioritize a nutritious breakfast.
  • Have a healthy snack prepared for after school.
  • Find foods your kids like that can easily be packed and enjoyed in a lunchbox.

Heat Safety

Although the start of the school year means summer is over, the temperatures outside are still HOT! It’s important to continue to be cautious about heat exhaustion, stroke, and dehydration. Follow these preventative tips and check out our blog post on Heat Safety and Dehydration :

  • Schedule vigorous activity and sports for cooler times of the day.
  • Take plenty of breaks to cool down.
  • Try to spend time in the shade rather than direct sunlight.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and take more fluids in than you’re losing.
  • Drink sports drinks as needed to maintain electrolyte balance.

Sleep Routine

Sleep is especially important for a child’s wellbeing and adjusting to waking up and going to sleep earlier is hard but necessary. About a week before school begins, try implementing some of these tips to make the school year transition as easy as possible:

  • Create a bedtime routine that allows your child to wind down from the day and signals it’s time to go to sleep.
  • Create a consistent bedtime and wakeup time that allows your child to get an appropriate amount of sleep for their age.
  • Limit electronic device usage an hour before bedtime.
  • Keep the bedroom as cool, quiet, and dark as possible to encourage good sleep.
  • Take steps to limit stress and worrying at bedtime such as writing in a journal, doing mindfulness exercises, or creating a space during the daytime to talk about worries.

Sports Safety

Sports are a great way to encourage kids to be active, meet new friends, and develop strong social skills. The possibility of injury can be scary, but it shouldn’t stop your children from participating. Follow these preventative tips and check out our blog on sports injuries.

Warm up and stretch before getting started.

  • Prioritize staying hydrated and cool.
  • Use proper technique and equipment.
  • Take breaks when needed.
  • Cooldown properly after activity.
  • Emphasize strength and flexibility in workouts.
  • Work yourself into shape slowly.
  • Make sure all previous injuries are fully healed to avoid reinjury.

Vaccines

Keeping your children up to date on their recommended vaccines is another important part of getting ready to go back to school. Vaccines keep your child and the whole community safe by reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Check with your child’s healthcare provider to confirm they are up to date on their vaccines and schedule an appointment if needed.

If your child is uninsured or has an insurance plan that does not cover vaccines, ask your healthcare provider if they participate in the Texas Vaccine for Children (TVC) program to get free or low-cost vaccines.

References

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/school/Pages/back-to-school-tips.aspx

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/sleep-strategies-kids

https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/back-to-school-nutrition-tips

https://news.uthscsa.edu/make-sure-vaccinations-are-on-your-back-to-school-to-do-list/