Helping kids prepare for back-to-school success
In some parts of U.S., school has already begun, and over the next several weeks, almost all children will be back in the classroom after the Labor Day holiday.
"Having routines is so important not only for our kids, but actually for our families and for us as adults, as well," explains Dr. Tina Ardon, a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic in Florida. "And routines focusing on sleep are a huge part of how we can do well in an academic setting, but also really important for health in general for our kids. That's why kids grow. That's when brain development can happen. So focusing on a really good sleep schedule and routine is just so important for us to be prioritizing as families."
Another important step to prepare for school is to make sure that a child's vaccinations are up to date.
"With any illness, but particularly for our kids, if we want to keep them from missing school, from missing things that we can prevent, then we should take advantage of the tools we have available," says Dr. Ardon. "So vaccines are one of those great tools that we have, at helping either prevent disease or helping us not get quite as sick from disease."
Another important part of preparing for school is dealing with the anxiety about the unfamiliar — a new environment, a new school, a different classroom. So how can parents help kids navigate the uncertainty?
"Keeping open lines of communication with your kids is so important," says Dr. Ardon. There are lots of ways for us to kind of prepare ourselves for either a new classroom or a new school. We can look online at pictures of the new school. We can take advantage of return-to-school activities where you can meet the teacher and walk around preparing your child for that first day. We can talk about what they're maybe excited about or nervous about. Is it homework? Is it new friends, old friends? Just allowing your child to have that conversation with you can alleviate a lot of that stress, as well."
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Ardon offers tips on helping kids prepare for back to school.
To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
Related back-to-school posts:
- "Ask the Mayo Mom: Back-to-school Q&A."
- "Mayo Clinic Minute: The 3 best ways to keep kids healthy when heading back to school."
- "Mayo Clinic Minute: Why parents need to teach their kids about hand hygiene."
- "Mayo Clinic Minute: Helping your child with back-to-school anxiety."
- "Mayo Clinic Minute: Back-to-school COVID-19 vaccinations for kids."
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