As summer break begins to wind down, preparations for a new school year are gearing up. Whether it’s the first day of school for your little one or your teen’s first year of college, making the transition from vacation to a daily schedule requires some pre-planning.
Typically, the most difficult changeover for everyone is getting used to a regulated bedtime routine. Getting enough sleep will help family members handle the switch better. I know that’s much easier said than done, but it's worth the effort. Now is a good time to start preparing for a new school year schedule.
As pediatrician, Dr. Sue Hubbard, has said previously in her kidsdr.com Daily Dose article, a couple of weeks before the start of a new school year is when families should start getting used to a new schedule.
“In order to try and minimize grouchy and tired children (and parents too) during those first days of school, going to bed on time will be a necessity. Working on re-adjusting betimes now will also make the transition from summer schedule to school schedule a little easier. If your children have been staying up later than usual, try pushing the bedtime back by 15 minutes each night and gradually shifting the bedtime to the “normal” hour. At the same time, especially for older children, you will need to awaken them a little earlier each day to re-set their clocks for early morning awakening,” Hubbard noted.
Another important detail to take care of before school begins is making sure your child is current on all immunizations. Each state has its own requirements and exemptions. In Texas for instance:
K-12 grades are required to have - the Tetanus/ Diphtheria/ Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, the Polio vaccine, Hepatitis B vaccine, and the varicella vaccine. K through 6th grade are also required to get the Hepatitis A vaccine and 7th through 12 grades, a meningococcal vaccine.
Also highly recommended, but not a state law requirement, is the Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV) for boys and girls.
You can find out exactly what your state’s school immunization program is by logging onto http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/awardee-imz-websites.html and clicking on your state.
And lets not forget our college bound students! Universities have their own policies, but these vaccines and booster shots are highly recommended by physicians and most universities: Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY), Tdap, HPV vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine. Be sure to check with your child’s school to see what specific vaccines are required or suggested.
The first day of school for kindergarteners and / or first-graders can be unsettling for kids and parents. Here are a few ways you can help your child face the uncertainty:
· Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. This may be at any age. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
· Point out the positive aspects of starting school. She'll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
· Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your student can walk to school or ride on the bus.
· If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school with your child before the first day.
· If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with him or her) to school and pick them up on the first day.
Nutrition is an important factor in children doing well in school. During the summer break kids often get off schedule with their eating habits. Start the early morning routine at least a week before school actually starts so that everyone has a chance to get used to having and preparing breakfast early.
Studies have shown that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches are more alert throughout the school day and earn higher grades than those who have an unhealthy diet.
Back-to-school- shopping, new schedule arrangements, homework time and space, immunizations, after-school sports and activities – they’re all part of a new school year.
One way to help keep everybody on track is with a calendar that is placed where everyone can see it and update it.
Here’s to a new school year that is full of learning, exciting experiences and good grades!