Last minute back-to-school checklist

A mother prepares her son for his first day at school. --- Image by © Jennie Woodcock; Reflections Photolibrary/CORBIS
A mother prepares her son for his first day at school. --- Image by © Jennie Woodcock; Reflections Photolibrary/CORBIS

While parents try to pack in as much end-of-summer holiday fun as possible, they also need to make sure that both they and their children are ready for school to start.

Sleep patterns

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Remember when it comes to children, big or small, they are able to adjust better when they have a schedule or routine to keep. For parents that means reinstituting the earlier bedtime. Depending on the age of the child, parents need to make sure that they are going to bed early enough to get the amount of sleep they need to make it through the day. Each age group needs a certain amount of sleep. Three to six year olds need 10 to 12 hours sleep, 7 to 12 year olds need 10 to 11 hours and 12 to 18 year olds need 8 to 9 hours sleep.

School supplies

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Even though it is not always possible, it is better to get school supplies early. While each school and each grade has their own list of what they expect students to bring to school with them, there are basics that you can get ahead of time. As “back-to-school” prices have increased substantially, parents will probably have to tighten their belts.

School clothes and lunch boxes

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School clothes and lunch supplies also need to be attended to. Right now many stores are running advertised and unadvertised sales on clothing and lunch items. An advantage of buying now is that there is more of a selection available than if you had gone earlier.

Try to stock up on healthy foods. It might be easy to pack your lunches with premade snacks, but a healthy diet is of the utmost importance, and junk foods don’t fit into the equation. Make it easier for yourself by stocking up on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread and lean protein. Take a few minutes during the weekend to cut up fruits and vegetables and prepare things like tuna, chicken and pasta salad or hard-boiled eggs for convenience in the mornings, and buy plenty of containers for nutritious dinner leftovers. Consider getting a small ice pack and an insulated lunch bag to allow more variety.

Backpacks

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When you are looking at backpacks, keep in mind the amount of items your child is going to have to carry. If your child is going to be carrying books back and forth on a daily basis you want to get them a bag that is going to fit the books and be comfortable for them to use.

Stress

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Back-to-school season is stressful for kids and parents alike, but too much stress can lead to a variety of health issues, including insomnia and sluggish immune systems. Help manage stress by talking to your children about anything that’s bothering them, and take care not to overload anyone’s schedule, including your own. Schoolwork and after-school activities are important, but it’s also essential to take time to relax, play and spend time as a family. If you are stressed about how prepared your child is, it is better to take a deep breath and relax. Your child sensing your stress, will also be stressed. It typically takes only three days to get used to a new routine and schedule.

Hygiene

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As you adjust to the first month of school, it’s a good idea to take a couple of precautionary measures to set your child up for a safe, healthy year. Children need to be taught good hygiene habits. With so many people around, germs are bound to be lurking in classrooms. To help your children avoid getting sick (and to prevent them from bringing germs home), it’s important to show them how to protect themselves. Teach them to wash their hands after using the toilet and before going to lunch or eating a snack. It may be a good idea to provide your children with an on-the-go hand sanitizer to use when washing their hands isn’t convenient.

 

 

 

 

 

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