Tips for Preparing Kids for Back to School Season
Good Night’s Rest
Sleep is so important whether you’re 8 or 80. For children and teens in school, sleep is extra important as it directly impacts mental and physical development. How much sleep your child needs depends on their age and their stage of development.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends:
- Ages 1 – 2 need about 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
- Ages 3 – 5 should get 11 to 13 hours of sleep a night
- Ages 6 – 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep
- Ages 14 – 17 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep
To help your children get a good night’s rest, practice the following:
- Make it important - teach your children the importance of sleep by making it a priority in your house.
- Be consistent - children of all ages should have a consistent bedtime and wake up time, regardless of whether it’s a week day or a weekend.
- Limit screen time - parents should limit screen time and keep devices out of the bedroom. These devices should be turned off about an hour before bed AND should be kept out of the bedroom.
- Exercise - get your children moving during the day. Exercise during the day will help children sleep better at night.
- Avoid caffeine - soda, energy drinks, and coffee drinks can seriously impact kids and keep them from falling asleep or staying asleep and should be avoided. Also, avoid chocolate close to bed time because this also has caffeine in it.
- Create a relaxing environment - keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Make sure the child isn’t too cold or hot in bed, and that there are no lights or noises to keep them up.
Ginger VanNess, the Manager of the Sleep Disorders Center & Nutrition & Diabetes Education Services for Cone Health, spoke on Fox 8 House Call about the importance of a good night's rest.
Immunizations and Physicals
The first day back to school is just around the corner, and the time to schedule yearly physical exams and immunizations has arrived. The yearly exam for children beginning kindergarten serves as a more formal screen, as their physician administers developmental checks to ensure the child is ready to begin school on a physical, emotional and academic level. Yearly exams are also important for older children to clear them for sports participation, as well as check for any developing health conditions, such as changes in hearing or vision.
Upcoming kindergarteners must also get their state required immunizations before starting school. Each school may require their own set of forms, and it’s a good idea to check what forms you need before you visit your physician.
Dr. Kaye Gable, the program director for Cone Health’s Pediatric Teaching Service, spoke on Fox 8 House Call about the importance of immunizations and yearly physicals for children headed back to school.