Like it or not, another school year is right around the corner. Knowing this, it’s important to plan ahead, so your children will be ready to start getting back into their school routine.
According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s southside, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “There are several things parents can do to make the transition back to school a smooth one. By planning ahead, much of the stress of starting a new school year can be eliminated.”
Make Sure Your Children Are Well-Rested
Anderson recommends that, before school starts, you develop a consistent bedtime routine for your children. Make an extra effort to ensure they are getting enough rest.
The average preschooler typically sleeps 11-13 hours each night. Children ages five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep. Anything short of this amount could cause your children to have a shortened attention span and difficulty concentrating in school.
This, combined with a regular daily routine that gets your children involved with packing their own lunches, laying out their clothes, getting up, getting dressed, and eating a healthy breakfast will help your children off on the right foot each morning.
Pack Healthy Lunches and Snacks
Making sure your children have healthy lunches and snacks that will “fuel” them throughout their busy school days is equally as important as getting the proper amount of sleep each night.
Avoid junk food and make sure you are packing nutritious foods from each of the food groups. Ideally, lunches should include two servings of fruits and/or vegetables; one serving of low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese; one or two servings from the grain group; one serving from the meat group; and small amounts of food from the tip of the food pyramid as a treat.
When looking at snacks, again think healthy. Fruit, pretzel sticks, celery with peanut butter, yogurt, and granola bars can all be wonderful options.
Anderson adds that, if you want to add a special touch to your children’s lunches, include a brief note telling them just how much you love them.
Watch the Weight of Backpacks
“When you are purchasing backpacks for your children, make sure you choose those with enough padding to protect against sharp edges placed inside the bag and with wide shoulder straps for more comfort,” says Anderson.
Anderson also recommends that when filling backpacks, you never put more than 10-20 percent of your children’s weight in them. That means for a 50-pound child, you will want to keep his/her backpack at ten pounds or less. If you find this difficult to do, consider purchasing backpacks with rollers to reduce the risk of muscle and back strain.
Teach Your Children About Safety
Whether riding a bus or walking to school, children need to be taught the importance of staying away from traffic and the street. Children also need to be taught to obey all traffic signals, signs, traffic officers, and safety patrols.
Finally, it can’t be reinforced enough that children should never talk to strangers, get into a stranger’s car, or answer a door when a stranger is present. Anderson also recommends that children know their home phone number and address as well as a parent’s work number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to use 911 for emergencies.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage. Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.