By Sefanit Fassil, MD
School is back in session! Here are some suggestions from your pediatrician to help you and your children get back on track and plan for success this fall!
Sleep is so important –
Children need a full night of sleep (10-12 hours for younger children and 9-10 hours for older kids). Start adjusting your bed time routine to accommodate for enough sleep. If bedtime was later during the summer, start pushing it closer to the normal bedtime. Start by turning off electronics one to two hours before bedtime. We recommend charging cell phones and devices out of the student’s bedroom overnight. Use traditional alarm clocks for older students instead of cell phones. Have older children pick out what to wear the night before to ease the morning rush.
Plan meals ahead –
Think about quick and nutritious meals for breakfast. Hardboiled eggs and fruit are easy to prepare ahead of time, as is peanut butter or almond butter toast. Instant oatmeal is not a bad choice however if you have a few minutes, an egg burrito is a fun and delicious option that you can add different ingredients based on preference (ie: avocado, shredded cheese, tomato, onion, peppers, etc). Avoid sugary cereals; they do not provide the protein needed to fuel kids through the morning. Plan ahead for lunch whether your children will be eating school meals or bringing their own bagged lunch. Look at the school meal schedule and talk with your child about healthy options and combinations. Making bagged lunches the night before is a huge timesaver in the morning, allowing more time to enjoy breakfast.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate –
Have a fun water bottle for your student to carry to refill if needed so that they stay hydrated throughout the day. Proper hydration can prevent fatigue and headaches later in the day. It is also important to stay hydrated while playing fall sports. Children and pre-teens have special fluid needs compared to adults, or even teenagers. In order to stay properly hydrated, your child must drinks fluids before, during and after exercise.
Provide the proper forms for medications –
If your child needs to receive medications during the day while they are in school, medication forms are required to be completed and given to the school nurse. Kindergarteners and 7th Graders need to provide proof of immunizations. You can request copies of your child’s immunization records directly from your pediatrician’s office.
Designate a homework space –
Plan and designate an area for your student to do their homework after school. Find a place where they can concentrate and not get too many distractions. For younger children, chose a space where you can be nearby to help if they need assistance. For middle or high school students, involve them in the decision of where they feel they will do their best work.
Communication is key –
Ask your children about their day. Communicate any upcoming events, practices/games, special preparation needed, etc. If your children are younger, check their backpacks for school provided papers with information. If they are older, ask them to write notes and dates on the family calendar.
Combat the Flu –
Plan to come in for the flu shot during one of our Flu Clinics, starting in September. Flu Clinic appointments are available only to Annapolis Pediatrics patients and must be pre-scheduled prior to the date of the clinic. The Flumist will not be available again this year. Call 410.263.6363 to make your flu clinic appointment.
Article originally published at Chesapeake Family Life.