1. Back-to-School Relief Starts with Communications at Home: At the top of the list to ease end-of-summer and back-to-school pressures is for parents and kids to meet together on this subject and talk. Plan a family meeting. Keep the tone fun with everyone interacting with a calendar that will not only circle back-to-school and related activities but also mark pleasurable events at school including upcoming breaks for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Communication is vital; and as you move forward, keep everyone involved by continuing regular discussions.
extremely booked. Schedule appointments for annual physicals, immunization vaccinations, and vision tests sooner rather than later.
If there are any medications involved during school hours, it is a good time to help youngsters to understand what the school policy is
for administering medications. Oftentimes the school’s website will provide good insight about health policies and procedures.
3. Healthy Routines: Elementary school-aged children need 10 hours of sleep while middle school through high school-aged need 9 1/4 hours.
There are lots of activities that can carve into sleep time, but maintaining good “sleep hygiene” is paramount for calming the body and
setting the mood for falling asleep (and staying asleep) so we can be alert and at peak performance during the day. To that extent,
encourage relaxing and soothing behaviors. Have the entire family power down televisions, smartphones, tablets, and whatnot, in order to
decompress and engage in calming activities such as reading, quiet relaxing or listening to music.
Remember, we ‘break our fast’ with breakfast. It has been shown that students perform better in the classroom because they have better
concentration, problem-solving skills, strength, endurance, and hand-eye coordination. Lunchtime requires some planning and creativity
to ensure balanced meals that include fruit, veggies, and proteins.
Keep students involved in the selection process (grocery store visits and in your kitchen) as it is an investment that reaps profitable
dividends as they learn wise choices in the process.
4. Safety: At school, in our neighborhoods and at home. The Academy of American Pediatrics website (www.aap.org) is a good safety resource
addressing each in great detail for back-to-school. Here is a quick list for review:
—Younger children should always walk to school with an adult — as they get older, it may be acceptable to walk by themselves, but a buddy
system is always preferable. Pick a safe route with intersections that have safety guards even if it means a slightly longer walk (review the
route beforehand) — and remind them to never push, shove, or chase each other near the street
—When riding a bus, review that they need to arrive early, stay out of the street, take a seat and always stay seated quietly (with arms and
hands inside the bus) until the bus has come to a safe stop
—For college-bound students, make sure they are familiar with the area and have a good support system to help them get around campus; that also applies to new high school drivers (and both may benefit with a gentle reminder to leave for school earlier)
—As a community we must always watch out for our children at all
intersections and driveways
Whether your student is starting kindergarten or entering college, we know that transitioning from summer to school is an exciting time of
jitters and great anticipation of what is ahead. Refresh positive memories along the way for everyone involved. As the school year gets
under way, let’s remind everyone what Dr. Seuss said: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the
more places you’ll go.” So, let’s leave stress behind and communicate
— read, learn, and go places! Have a good transition to a wonderful,
healthy school year!
Dr. Nina Radcliff is dedicated to her profession, her patients and her community, at large. She is passionate about sharing truths for
healthy, balanced living as well as wise preventive health measures.
She completed medical school and residency training at UCLA and has served on the medical faculty at The University of Pennsylvania. She
is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists where she serves on committees for Young
Physicians and Communications. Author of more than 200 textbook chapters, research articles, medical opinions and reviews; she is
often called upon by media to speak on medical, fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle topics impacting our lives, today.