Healthy Habits For Back To School

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KidsHealth.org offers practical tips for helping kids start the new year strong.

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Remember the mixed emotions that going back to school brought when you were a kid? You were anxious and excited, but disappointed that summer was over. Whether your kids had a summer jam-packed with activities or were bored to tears by the end, they might have a hard time making the transition back to school. KidsHealth.org, the most visited website about children’s health and parenting, offers tips for parents to help kids start the school year strong.

TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  •     Start the routine early: Start the school routine 1 or 2 weeks before school starts, especially mealtimes and bedtimes. Be sure that kids are having a healthy breakfast each morning.
  •     Write it down: Capture the need-to-know information, such as locker combinations, what time classes and lunch start and end, homerooms, teachers' and/or bus drivers' names, etc. Write it all down in a special place for them so that they know where it is and can find the answers on their own.
  •     Pack the night before: Help kids organize and set out what they need for the school day the night before (i.e., homework and books should be put in their backpacks by the front door). That way they are not rushing in the morning to find what they need.
  •     Dress for success: Many kids feel more confident in their favorite shirt or pair of jeans. Some kids may want to wear a new outfit for the first day. Find what works best for your child and be sure it’s clean and ready the night before to make getting ready easier for you and your child.
  •     Make time: Adjust your schedule for the first week back. It's especially beneficial for parents to be home at the end of the school day for the first week. But many working moms and dads just don't have that flexibility. If you can't be there when school lets out, try to arrange your evenings so that you're able to give kids as much time as they need, especially during those first few days.

For some kids, a case of the first-day jitters may strike the week before school starts. They may need a little extra help with the transition to help them feel prepared and confident. “First-day jitters are normal,” says D’Arcy Lyness, PhD, child psychologist and medical editor for KidsHealth.org. “If your child seems nervous or anxious, try to find out what’s on their mind and talk about it. Acknowledge the worry but don’t focus on it. Instead, try to focus on the positive, exciting things about going back to school and do some of the necessary things to help your child feel prepared. For kids starting a new school or beginning middle school, a visit to the new building before classes start can be very helpful. Walk around and help familiarize kids with the locations of the classrooms, cafeteria, their locker, etc.”

Although it's normal to be anxious in any new situation, a few children develop real physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, associated with the start of school. If you're concerned that your child's worries go beyond the normal back-to-school jitters, speak with your child's doctor, teacher, or school counselor.

For more information about back to school, visit KidsHealth.org to read these helpful articles:
Back to School (for Parents)
http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/back_school_p2.html

Back to School (for Kids)
http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/back_to_school.html

Back to School (For Teens)
http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/back_to_school.html

To schedule an interview, contact:
Ryan Biliski: (302) 651-4046 or biliski(at)KidsHealth.org
Kira Ebert: (302) 651-4115 or ebert(at)KidsHealth.org

About KidsHealth®
KidsHealth creates engaging online, print, and video media about a wide range of health and family issues. KidsHealth has a physician-directed, professional editorial staff and is the largest resource of online children’s health, behavioral, and developmental information written for three distinct audiences: parents, kids, and teens. Each year, over 120 million families turn to KidsHealth.org for expert answers, making it the Web’s most-accessed site on children’s health. Recent accolades include the Webby Awards for Best Family/Parenting Website and Best Health Website and selection as one of the 30 Best Websites by U.S. News & World Report and one of the 50 Coolest Websites by TIME magazine. Recently, KidsHealth launched KidsHealth in the Classroom, a free website for educators featuring standards-based health curricula, activities, handouts, and more. For more information about KidsHealth in the Classroom, visit KidsHealth.org/classroom. KidsHealth comes from The Nemours Foundation, one of the largest nonprofit organizations devoted to children’s health. For more information about KidsHealth, please visit KidsHealth.org.

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Ryan Biliski

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Kira Ebert

302-651-4115
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