It’s an exciting time of the year for kids and parents alike – it’s time to send your little ones off to tackle a brand new school year! While having all the right supplies is important, we have a few more tips to get the year off to a smooth start!
- The doctor is in: Be sure to make your child’s annual check-up with his or her pediatrician. Your child’s doctor will get them on track with their immunizations and make sure they’re into tip-top shape to get back to school and sports.
- Get them excited: Talk to your kids about the positive aspects of going back to school, like seeing old friends and meeting new ones, and the good experiences they've had in past school years.
- Get in the groove: It’s helpful to start your child on a school sleep/wake schedule a week or so before classes start so that they are back in the “early-to-bed, early-to-rise” routine.
- Find a friend: Seek out other kids in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school, ride on the bus, or carpool with. They may make a new friend and feel more comfortable having a buddy at school.
- Get the lay of the land: If your child is heading to school for the first time, or starting the year off at a new school, be sure to go to any available orientations and opportunities to tour the school before the first day. If possible, bring your child to the school a few days prior to class to play on the playground and get comfortable in the new setting. If you feel that your child may be stressed or anxious on the first day, drive and/or walk your child into school and back on the first day, and arrive early so they have time to acquaint themselves with their new surroundings.
- Pack it right: Backpack preparation is also important before school starts. Be sure to pick a pack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. As a rule of thumb, the backpack should never weigh more than 20 percent of your child's body weight. The pack should be adjusted so that the bottom sits at your child's waist, and kids should always use both shoulder straps. Go through the pack with your child each week and remove unneeded items. It will also help your child’s organizational skills to keep their pack clean and clear of excess items that tend to pile up throughout the school year!
Dr. Stephanie Graebert is a pediatrician at Children’s Pediatrics Carousel. After earning her medical degree from LSU Health New Orleans, Dr. Graebert completed her pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. Dr. Graebert chose to practice pediatrics because being able to care for someone while they are growing up, all while building a relationship with their family, is a special experience that she is proud to be a part of. She remembers her relationship with her own pediatrician and hopes to impact her patients in a similar way.