Back to School Tips – August 2009

It doesn’t seem possible; however, another school year is right around the corner. Knowing this, it’s important to plan ahead, so your children will be ready for this noteworthy change in their routine.

According to Samantha Stern, training and development director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “There are a number of things parents can to do to help make the transition back to school a smooth one.  By simply planning ahead, a lot of the stress of the new school year can be eliminated.”

Well-Rested Means Better Prepared

Stern recommends that you begin now to make sure that your children have a consistent bedtime schedule and make an extra effort to ensure that 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 lunch or laying out their clothes, getting up, getting dressed, and eating a healthy breakfast will start your children out right each morning.

Pack Healthy Lunches and Snacks

Packing a healthy lunch and snack that will “fuel” your children throughout the school day is equally as important as making sure your children get enough rest each night.

Avoid junk food and make sure you are packing nutritious foods from each of the food groups. Ideally, lunch 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; and one serving from the meat group.

When choosing snacks, again think healthy. Pretzel sticks, bite-size carrots, 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, add a brief note telling them just how much they mean to you.

Watch the Weight of the Back Pack

“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 Stern.

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

Teaching Your Children 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, Stern recommends that children learn their home phone number and address, a parent’s work number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to use 911 for emergencies.

   Ebenezer Child Care Centers, Inc. will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Back to School Tips” on Tuesday, August 18, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their southside location at 1496 South 29th Street.  Come learn more about how to prepare for going back to school and enjoy dinner on us.  This event, which is sponsored by Children’s Hospital’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Fund, is free and open to the public.  Registration is required.  Please call 414-643-5070 to register.