Back-to-school is a busy time for families. All children experience change and have to adjust to new schedules and routines during back-to-school. Getting back into the groove after the long summer break can be challenging and create feelings of stress for you and your child.
During this hectic time, it’s important for your child to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. After all, healthy students are better learners!
Check out these tips to keep your children healthy as they transition back to the classroom.
Back-to-school mental health tips
Back-to-school time can bring up feelings of stress and anxiety for your child. Navigating new schedules and routines can be difficult for some children to adjust to, especially after the summer months. This school year, be proactive in identifying when your child might need mental health support.
Help your child find healthy ways to relax and destress
Encourage your child to find strategies to help them relax when they feel stressed. Going for a walk, exercising, drawing, painting, listening to music, and reading are examples of activities that might help your child destress. Having an activity they enjoy to turn to when they are stressed or anxious can help them cope with their feelings.
Check-in with your child
Check-in with your child about how they’re doing with the changes around back-to-school time. Be a sounding board and listen as they discuss their feelings. Let your child lead the conversation. Listen to their concerns. Remind your child that feeling stressed during times of transition is very common.
If you feel your child is struggling with their mental health and you’re not able to help, consider reaching out for professional support. If you think your child might benefit from therapy, see if Hazel Health is available in your district.
Don’t over schedule your child
Make sure your child has downtime in their new back-to-school schedule. Try to make time for relaxation throughout the day and week, and allow your child to recharge over the weekend. Extracurricular activities like sports and music are essential, but try to avoid over-scheduling your child’s activities.
Back-to-School Physical Health Tips
A healthy child is a better learner. Students who feel physically and mentally well miss school less frequently, are less likely to engage in risky behavior, are better able to concentrate, and achieve better grades and test scores.
Establish a consistent bedtime routine
Your child’s body and brain need sleep. Children that get adequate sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall physical and mental health.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:
- Ages 2-5: 10 to 13 hours of sleep
- Ages 6-12: 9 to 12 hours of sleep
- Ages 13-18: 8 to 10 hours of sleep
If your child gets consistent sleep, they will be more equipped to cope with the challenges and stress they experience day-to-day. They will function better at school, at home, and in extracurricular activities. Especially during back-to-school, when your child is adjusting to a new schedule, sleep is essential. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and reduce the use of screens before bedtime.
Get vaccinations up to date
Schools require that all students are up-to-date on their immunizations before returning to the classroom. Check with your school to ensure your child is appropriately vaccinated so they can return to school safely. In addition to vaccinations, ensure your child has their annual wellness exam and gets their vision checked.
Ensure a healthy diet
Healthy meals and snacks will go a long way in making sure your child is prepared for back-to-school. Make sure your child starts their day with a healthy, protein-filled meal. Students who eat a hearty breakfast are more focused throughout the school day.
Yogurts, eggs, breakfast sandwiches, and fruit are great options to start your child’s day off nutritious. Offer fruits and vegetables with meals, and encourage your child to eat the fruits and vegetables that are offered in their school lunch. If you make your child’s lunch, Include easy-to-eat and prepared foods like baby carrots, apple slices, grapes, melon, berries, or cheese. Older kids can often make lunch themselves!
Limit sugary drinks and encourage your child to drink water to remain hydrated. Hydration is essential for your child’s health. Hydration helps prevent fatigue, improves mood, and aids digestion. It also has been shown to enhance brain function and focus.
Remind your child to wash their hands
Germs are everywhere. Hand-washing helps prevent the spread of the flu, colds, and COVID-19. Hand-washing with soap and water is an excellent way for your child to prevent the spread of germs, so they do not get sick. Help your child develop the habit of washing their hands after using the bathroom, eating lunch or a snack, and after recess.
Good luck this school year!
These tips will help your child have a smooth transition back-to-school this year and a safe, healthy, productive school year ahead.