Another school year is just around the corner. Transitioning from the relaxed schedule of summer vacation to the strict routine of a school day can be challenging for both parents and children. The following back-to-school tips from FastMed will help you establish a morning routine for school and a back-to-school bedtime schedule to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Coping with Anxiety When Heading Back to School
It is natural for children to be nervous about the start of the school year, especially if they are starting school for the first time or changing schools. For young children heading to school for the first time, talk to them about the new experiences they will face, and let them role play certain tasks that they will encounter in school, in a fun and playful way. If possible, arrange for your child to see the inside of the school and meet their teacher before the first day of school so that the new surroundings will seem less intimidating. For older children and teens heading to a new school, make a point of connecting with other parents at work or in your neighborhood who have children attending the same school so that your child can find out what the school is like from a student’s perspective and have the benefit of a few familiar faces on their first day.
Creating a Morning Routine for School
Getting the entire family off to work and school in the mornings can be chaotic under the best of circumstances. The best way to eliminate stress on busy mornings is to create an organized morning routine for school to ensure that everyone gets out of the house in a timely manner with a minimum of fussing and arguing.
- Spend 30 minutes before bedtime making sure that backpacks are by the door and that all necessary books, homework, permission slips, and supplies are inside.
- Pack lunches the night before.
- Set out dishes and nonperishable items for breakfast the next morning.
- Set out the next day’s outfit.
- Use age-appropriate task checklists to delegate morning tasks to children, such as making their bed or making sure their backpack is by the door, as a way of teaching responsibility.
Choosing a Back-to-School Bedtime
Choosing the correct bedtime is essential for making sure that your child has the mental and physical energy to face the school day. As a general rule, children between the ages of 7 and 12 need anywhere from 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Older children typically need 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Decreasing sleep by as little as 25 to 30 minutes can negatively impact concentration and academic performance. It is best to start adjusting your child’s sleep pattern one to two weeks before school starts by moving bed and wake times up by five to 15 minutes a night.
Tips to Get to Sleep
At the beginning of the school year, it can be difficult to get children to go to bed on time, especially younger children who may have to go to bed when it is still light outside. FastMed recommends that parents and children use the following tips to get to sleep as quickly as possible. Create a set bedtime routine when heading back to school to cue the brain and body that it is time to slow down and go to sleep. About one hour before bedtime, start disengaging from electronics and other stimulating activities. If possible, gradually decrease the light and noise level in the house to create a sense of calmness. Bedtime stories and warm baths are also effective at helping young children relax. Try to keep televisions, cell phones, and other electronics out of your child’s bedroom since the noises and blue light can interfere with sleep.
Miscellaneous Back-to-School Tips for Kids and Families
Just because the kids are going back to school, it does not mean that your family has to give up the outdoor activities that make summer vacation so fun. Keep your child connected to the outdoors and nature by making sure your family gets outside as often as possible in the evenings and on weekends. For example, you can take family walks after dinner as a way to catch up with each other at the end of the day. Make it a point to have at least 15 minutes of quiet, one-on-one time with each child per day where they have your undivided attention. Utilize pockets of time while in the car or doing dishes together to engage your child in conversations about their thoughts or concerns.
At FastMed, we also recommend that every child have a physical before the start of the school year. With more than 100 clinics throughout Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina, finding a nearby FastMed clinic is easy. We offer online scheduling, or you can drop by one of our locations at your convenience.
FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates nearly 200 centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas that provide a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days a year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation and other occupational health services at all its centers, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than six million patients and is the only independent urgent care operator in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit www.fastmed.com.