Back to School Parenting Tip – August 2010

Although we may not like to admit it, the school year is right around the corner. It’s important to plan ahead, so your children will be ready for this noteworthy change in their routines.

According to Samantha Stern, training and development director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “There are a number of things parents need to 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.”

Well-Rested Means Better Prepared

Stern recommends that you start working on a consistent bedtime schedule now, and make an extra effort to be sure that your children 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 at school.

This, combined with a regular daily routine that gets your children involved with packing their lunches, laying out their clothes, getting up, getting dressed, and eating a healthy breakfast will start your children off on the right foot each morning.

Pack A Healthy Lunch

Packing healthy lunches and snacks that will “fuel” your children throughout the school day is equally as important as making sure your children get enough 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.

Stern adds that, if you want to add a loving touch to your children’s lunch, you should put a brief note in it telling them just how much you love them.

Watch the Weight of That Back Pack

“When you are purchasing backpacks for your children, make sure you choose backpacks with enough padding to protect against sharp edges placed inside the bag and with wide shoulder straps for more comfort,” says Stern.

Stern also recommends that when filling backpacks, you never put more than 10-20 percent of your children’s weight in it. That means for a 50 pound child, you want to keep his/her backpack at ten pounds or less. If you find this hard to do, consider purchasing backpacks with rollers to spare your children muscle strain.

Teaching Safety To Your Child

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 in a stranger’s car, or answer a door when a stranger is present. Stern also recommends that children should 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 will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Back to School” on Friday, August 6th, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their Wauwatosa Center located inside the UnitedHealth Group Center, 10701 West Research Drive, Wauwatosa.

Get organized now for the best school year ever! Come to our August Family Fun Night and gather ideas on how to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead. Activities for this Family Fun Night will include a proper fitting back pack demonstration by Krsko Chiropractic, painting school bus cut-outs, decorating folders, making homemade book covers, and playing with playdough and alphabet cookie cutters! In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required at least one week in advance. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.