Start the School Year Off Right
By Meredith Rosson, Youth Programs Director, Cooper Fitness Center Dallas
The back-to-school season is just around the corner! I know that making the transition from long summer days to the school year can be a crazy time for your family. With summer camps at Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas wrapping up, we’re busy getting ready for our fall youth programs. After talking with our summer campers, I wanted to share these tips to help you start the school year right – and stay organized all year long.
Two Weeks before School Starts:
- Schedule doctor visits. Most schools require immunization records, so it’s important to schedule your child’s dentist and doctor appointments to allow enough time for any follow up visits before school starts. This will also let you know if there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed with your child’s school and teacher. Watch this video from our Cooper Clinic physician Dr. Emily Hebert with additional reminders for doctor’s visits.
- Re-establish daily routines. During the summer, your child’s routine become a little off course. It’s important to re-establish their daily routines such as mealtimes and bedtime, in order to ensure that they are ready to conquer each school day with bountiful energy and a good attitude.
- Fuel their body. Provide your child with nutritious meals to give their body lasting energy and to boost their brainpower. It’s also vital that they are getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. You can re-establish a normal “school night” bedtime, by moving up their bedtime by 20 minutes every 2-3 days to help their bodies adjust.
- Turn off the TV. When your child is out of school for the summer, it’s easy to let them spend too much time with electronics like the TV and computer. Stimulate your child’s brain and help them learn to focus by encouraging activities such as books, word puzzles, arts and crafts, and musical instruments.
- Establish a positive attitude. When done properly and consistently, your words are the most influential tool in shaping your child’s attitude and feelings towards school. Share your favorite school memories to instill a sense of excitement in your child.
One Week before School Starts:
- Visit the school. Whether your child is heading to a new school, new grade or will start rotating from class to class, it’s always a good idea to show them where they will be spending the next nine months of their life. This is a great way to alleviate anxiety and help make the first day of school seem more familiar.
- Provide a sense of responsibility. Your child’s bedtime routine can be a great opportunity to teach them responsibility. Allowing them to pick out their daily outfit, set their own alarm and pack their backpack, will empower your child to grow into the self-sufficient adult that you want them to be someday! Don’t forget, it’s always a good idea to supervise these types of activities.
- Prepare meals ahead of time. The first week of school can be a little chaotic, so prepping simple meals ahead of time will take the stress and time out of the kitchen, allowing you more time to connect with your child on their daily experiences at school.
First Week of School:
- Meet the teacher. It’s important to build relationships with your child’s teacher to set a positive foundation for the upcoming year. This will allow you to express your sincere interest in their feedback about your child’s behavior and classwork, and to show your support for the goals that they set for your child. Meet-n-greet opportunities also give you the chance to learn the best way to communicate with the teacher.
All Year Long:
- Playtime before homework. The school day is long and your child often needs to be physically active and release pent-up energy. Believe it or not, studies show that having time to play outside before a big test helps children with their concentration and results in better grades. The same theory can apply to your home life. Designate a specific amount of home recess time before your child comes in to start on their homework. Here’s a few play date ideas to try!
- After school snacks. With my job, I’ve come to understand how easily kids can become hungry! Be sure to offer them a healthy snack to hold off their hunger pains until dinnertime. As a rule of thumb, the snack should not be more than 200 calories. To find delicious snacks ideas that your child is sure to love, click here.
- Teachable moments. Whether your child forgets their homework or doesn’t remember to complete last night’s assignment, these types of moments can teach your child responsibility and accountability. It’s key to teach your child that their actions have natural consequences. As a result, your child will learn to check their backpacks and establish a routine to help them become a successful individual throughout their life.
I hope these tips will help you and your child to experience a wonderful school year!
What tips do you have to ease your child back into the school routine?