CURRENT ISSUE:  August 2023

Back to School Tips: Health Matters

Health Matters: Back to School Tips to Make Returning to School a Breeze
By Katie Malear, CNP. 

The first day of school is right around the corner, and it’s almost time to kick off the new school year. The weeks leading up to a student’s return to school can shape the rest of their academic year, which is why it can be beneficial to make a back-to-school game plan, helping promote a healthy transition back to the classroom.

To get your kids ready for a school schedule, going to bed at a consistent time and waking up earlier is a great way to help their internal alarm clocks. By starting a more regular sleep schedule a week or two before the first day of school, kids can begin adjusting to a new routine that ensures they have adequate sleep for long days of learning in the classroom. Rest is key to supporting healthy minds.

Since we are constantly feeding our brain information and sometimes overstimulating ourselves with technology, limiting screen time before bed is another way to promote healthy sleep and recovery. Shutting devices down thirty minutes before bed, or even setting phones in another room for the night can help your kids be more alert the following day and ready to learn.

In addition to sleep, practicing listening skills ahead of the school year can benefit children of all ages. One way to do this is to have your child complete household chores each day. Not only does this enable them to practice following instructions, but it can also boost a child’s sense of responsibility, independence and pride.

You can also have your children plan meals or make a schedule for the day to help encourage holistic development while using goal- directed behaviors seen within the classroom walls. Incorporating small academic habits, such as reading a little each day, can strengthen skills used in school and a child’s retention of pervious lessons.

A Healthy Mind
Learning also requires a healthy mind. That’s why supporting your child’s mental health is important as you prepare to send them back to school. If your child struggles with anxiety or other mental health challenges, creating a sense of belonging and building strong, positive relationships among students, teachers and other parents can be beneficial in helping them cope with their feelings.

Connection is essential to boosting a child’s self-esteem and sense of trust in others and themselves. Additionally, it’s important to also remember that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact how children learn, even though much of life feels like it’s returning to normal. Having strategies in place at home and at school to support safe, in-person learning for kids can ease their transition back to school this fall. At home, this could include reinforcing and practicing healthy hygiene habits, such as proper hand washing techniques, before kids return to school.

Helping your child feel engaged and motivated to start off the year is one of the most important ways to promote success all year long. Whether your child is heading to school for the first time or ready to graduate, make sure they get a running start as the new school year begins.

*Kathleen Malear is a certified nurse practitioner for Mercy Health – Lorain. Kathleen manages the Mercy Health clinic located in Washington in partnership with Lorain City Schools.

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