Back to School Tips for Parents

Back to School Tips for Parents

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—back-to-school season! Between readying backpacks, buying school supplies, and yes, celebratory dancing (no judgment here, moms and dads), these seven tips can help your kids put their best foot forward when that first bell rings:

  1. Check in with their doctor. A physical each year is an important step to monitor your child's wellness and address any health concerns, including ensuring they’re up to date vaccinations. Remember, all children who play sports are also required to have a sports physical. And, if you haven’t already, be sure to schedule an appointment with the dentist, too.
  2. Help them dream sweetly. Summer equals haphazard sleep and bedtime routines. Yet with earlier wakeup times approaching, it’s important to help your kids return to a normal sleep schedule. Pediatricians recommend children age 6 to 12 get 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night; teens should aim for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Make meals count. Nurture their concentration, energy and performance with a healthy breakfast, and pack their lunchboxes with nutrition and fun.
  4. Embrace exercise. Just like adults, the pressures kids face (socially and academically) can take a toll. Encourage your child to play a sport or simply go for bike rides around the block. Regular physical activity is an ideal way to lower stress, improve sleep and boost self-esteem.
  5. Keep an eye on eye health. Good vision is essential to success in the classroom. Signs your child might have vision issues include sitting too close to the TV, squinting when trying to see things in the distance, poor concentration, reading difficulties, and recurring headaches while using digital devices or reading.
  6. Choose the right backpack—ideally an option with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  7. Talk to your kids. Whether on the first day or fiftieth, keeping communication lines open is critical. Probe beyond the standard question of, “So how was school today?” Many kids (especially teens) won’t volunteer that they’re dealing with anxiety or depression, or are being bullied, so make sure you’re engaging in real conversation. And if you think your child is struggling with bullying, talk to his/her principal or teachers right away.

In your neighborhood and close to home, Holland Hospital’s family medicine, pediatricians and internal medicine physicians are focused on your health and wellness—delivering comprehensive, compassionate care for infants, children and adults of all ages.

  • Joel P. Veldhouse, MD

    Joel P. Veldhouse, MD

    Holland Hospital Pediatrics & Internal Medicine
    3235 N Wellness Dr
    Building A, Suite 120A
    Holland MI 49424
    P: (616) 399-0902
    F: (616) 399-0513

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