>Back to School Tips


  • With all of us getting in the “back to school” mode, here are six of our top tips for making a smooth and heathy transition into the school year routine.
  • Encourage a good night’s sleep. Preschool through elementary age children are encouraged to get 10 to 12 hours of sleep overnight. Consistent bedtimes and routines can go a long way here.
  • Build some extra time in the morning schedule. Children benefit from a smooth, low-stress morning – don’t we all! It can be helpful to build an extra 15 minutes into the morning so they have time to relax and play or look at books before heading out. This also give a bit of room if there is an upset.
  • Mom was right – a balanced breakfast is key to a good start. Without a good breakfast, your child can begin feeling run down by mid morning. So a good breakfast, especially if they’ve been a snacker over the summer months is an important start to the day.
  • Don’t overschedule extra-curricular activities. If this is your child’s transition year from preschool to full-day Kindergarten, it is recommended that you hold off on participating in after school activities until you know the impact of the longer day. Think of waiting to schedule late day activities for a month or two.
  • For grade schoolers, plan NOW for homework time. There are two issues to solve here to end the battles before they start:
    The Time – Plan a calendar, decide when homework will be done each day and for how long at a minimum. Stick to it.
    The Place – Think good lighting, access to supplies, comfortable seating and quiet.
  • Give them some time to chill out. As busy as the school year gets, plan for an hour of downtime everyday at any age. Downtime is unstructured playtime when the child is in charge and directs activity.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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