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What to Do Now To Prepare for Back to School

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 7:41 AM

School is out for summer! Now you have approximately three months to put all school responsibilities to the side, right? Maybe not, suggests Sabrina Cimo, MD, MPH, Pediatrician at NorthShore. What you do now, while still in the school mindset, can make back-to-school time much less stressful.

Summer School Tips

What can you do now to make the transition from summer to school easier? Dr. Cimo suggests:

  • Make doctor appointments now. August is one of the busiest months for most pediatric practices. Scheduling back-to-school checkups now will help you beat the last-minute rush.
  • Go through the closets. Kids grow fast! At the end of the school year go through closets and have children try on all their clothes. Take items that are too small – and items that will be too small in three months – to a local shelter or donation drive. Then make a list of what items need to be replaced.
  • Take your kids shopping. Many schools provide parents with supply lists for the following year. Talk to your kids about what items they will need and make them part of the process of selecting and even labeling items as their own. This helps build excitement for the Fall and adds a personal element to the process. They are less likely to lose items when they are aware of what they have. Shopping now can also prevent the stress of running from store to store when some supplies can be hard to find.
  • Get a library card and keep reading. Summer learning loss can be significant. Ask your child’s teacher to recommend fun, level-appropriate books for summer. Many book stores and online retailers also offer age-based lists and fun summer reading challenges. Maintaining reading fluency will make for an easier transition back to school at the end of summer. Magazines, newspapers and even recipes are all great ways to keep kids engaged in reading as well.
  • Don’t let your child go without necessary medication. If your child has a chronic disease such as asthma or severe food allergies, most schools will require forms to be completed by a physician, which allow prescription medications to administered in school. Parents should check with their school in advance, allowing ample turnaround time for forms to be dropped off or completed at your child’s checkup.
  • Early rise and shine. Our bodies need time to adjust to new schedules and sleep changes. We often see kids in the first few weeks of school complaining about headaches, fatigue and even nausea as the result of lost sleep. A few weeks before the start of school, get the kids into their anticipated Fall routines. This means earlier bed times and less time sleeping in on weekdays.
  • Calm the jitters. If your child is a worrier or is anxious about attending a new school, try eliminating the unknowns. Visit your school, walk your route to school, familiarize your child with his or her bus stop, or plan an afternoon picnic on the school playground. If possible, meet staff and your child’s teacher in advance. Focus on the positives of heading back to school – opportunities to learn and develop friendships.

Parents, what are you taking care of now?