by Dr. Aimee Ferrell
After a long and fun summer, it’s time to get back to school. But it doesn’t have to be a chore! Here are some simple things you can do to set your kids up for success this school year:
1. Review your routine and get back on schedule.
It’s important to set a bedtime and wake-up routine that allows for plenty of rest before the school year starts. Ease back into the routine by setting bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night. Sleep is one of the most important things you can offer for your child’s health, and kids are supposed to get approximately 10 hours of sleep per night to function properly in an academic setting.
2. Plan ahead for nutritious meals.
School nights can be very busy, especially when combined with extracurricular activities. But spending a few minutes in advance to plan out what your kids will eat that week before going to the grocery can save a lot of stress. If packing nutritious lunches is a struggle, think of some foods your kids love at home that you could pack in a thermos or find a way to send to school rather than some of the more popular processed options.
3. Choose the right backpack.
Look for a properly fitted backpack with two padded shoulder straps and a padded back that is sized appropriately for your child. Make sure your child knows how to carry it properly over the strongest mid-back muscles, and encourage them to make frequent stops to their desk or locker rather than carrying all of their books for a day at once.
4. Do some homework of your own.
Homework can sometimes overwhelm children and families, but planning and establishing ground rules in advance can help. Set aside a quiet space for homework that is free from distraction, and keep school supplies near this designated area. Make sure your children understand the rules about completing homework before play time to minimize issues during the week.
5. Teach your kids how to cope with bullies.
This is an unfortunate reality that children need to be prepared for, and you can help your child by providing some guidelines on how to react and how not to. The best approach is typically to ignore a bully and not to encourage him. If the bullying is significant, it should be reported. Sometimes role playing with your child can help them feel comfortable with knowing how to handle the situation before it arises.
6. Update all vaccinations and get any required physicals.
Sets of shots are prescribed at various ages up through young adults, so ask your child’s pediatrician about what immunizations are due. If your child plays sports, he or she may need a physical before beginning practice. It’s also a good time for all children to receive a well check so they begin a new school year on a healthy note. You can click here to schedule online with one of our pediatricians.
About Dr. Ferrell
Aimee Ferrell, MD, is a native of Baton Rouge, and received her medical degree from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans in 2000, where she achieved membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Dr. Ferrell completed her residency in Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2003. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and has maintained her certification with The American Board of Pediatrics throughout her time in practice. She currently sees patients at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Pediatrics at O’Donovan, located at 5131 O'Donovan Drive, Suite 301 in Baton Rouge. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ferrell, click here or call 225-490-0393.