Back to School Guide in 5 Steps

Back to school kid with glasses

Get your Checkup:

It’s a good idea to complete any needed physicals or checkups prior to the start of the school year to ensure your child is in good general health and that any chronic conditions are being appropriately managed. We want to make sure the child is feeling healthy and not distracted by an underlying illnesses that might compromise focus while attending school or detract from overall enjoyment of the learning experience.

These may include:

  • Sports physicals to compete on school teams
  • Yearly well-child exams to ensure your child is in good health and up to date on vaccinations
  • Medication reviews if they're on seasonal or long term medications
  • Even a visit to the dentist to ensure they're cavity free

Getting into the Routine

The beginning of the school year is a busy time for families and you want to make sure you don’t have added stress of missing classroom time to attend critical appointments for your child’s health. Here are a few tips from parents with kids heading back school:

  • Give your child plenty of time in advance to adjust to the daily school schedule, which may include waking earlier and going to sleep earlier.
  • Mimic a typical school day schedule for 2-3 weeks before the start of school, making sure the child can wake up at an appropriate time and fall asleep at night to get the recommended hours of sleep. It can be hard to make these transitions during the summer months when it stays light out until later in the evening, but being well rested is essential for school success.

The Back to School Sleep Routine

How much sleep is enough sleep for students? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Childhood Sleep Guidelines (released June 13, 2016) the break down looks like this:  

  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours 

Getting Over the Emotional Swing

The first day and week of school can be tiring and emotionally draining, so try not to load too many new activities while they adjust to the new schedule and demands of being back at school. Now that school is around the corner and your future scholar might be feeling anxious, it could be a good idea for the family to experience school together, try:

  • Visiting the school together prior to the official start of the school year
  • Consider spending some time on the playground as a family and familiarize your child with the recreational areas of the school to get them excited
  • See if your school can arrange for a classroom visit to meet the teacher and identify where the child might sit, store their belongings, eat lunch, etc.
  • If your child is starting at a new school, it can be helpful to meet other classmates from the neighborhood so they recognize friends on the first day
  • It's also a good idea to have children practice how they will get to and from school
  • Teach your child relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, positive self-talk and visual imagery exercises 

Be an Excited Parent

Kids take a lot of cues from their parents, so don’t be afraid to celebrate the start of the school year to help foster their own enthusiasm. Consider having a special back-to-school dinner in the nights leading up to the first day. Or, start a fun tradition to cap off the summer and get everyone ready for a new year of school.