Summer breaks are an essential part of growing up. As a child, there was nothing quite so magical and freeing as the moment summer vacation arrived. Back in 1972, that feeling of freedom was immortalized by Valley native Alice Cooper in his iconic anthem, “School’s Out For Summer.” In contrast, going back to school is often met with far less enthusiasm. While your student may have the back to school blues, there are a few things you can do to help them transition back into the classroom as seamlessly as possible.
Slowly transition sleep schedules. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children aged six to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep nightly; however, most don’t get the recommended amount of rest. Sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings, cognitive, and behavioral problems that can harm a child’s ability to learn in school. To avoid cranky kids and rushed mornings, start the school year bedtime routine at least 2-3 weeks before classes resume.
Schedule a physical for your child. Children who engage in sports are usually required to have a physical before they can play. However, whether your child plays sports or not, it’s a great idea to schedule a back to school physical. Sports physicals tend to be limited to factors specifically related to playing sports, like medical history, overall heart and lung health, and strength and flexibility. During a regular physical, or wellness exam, the provider will review and address your child’s health history, perform a complete physical exam, order lab tests, administer immunizations, perform a vision/hearing screening, developmental/behavioral screening as necessary, and provide advice on how to keep healthy and safe.
Lighten your child’s backpack load. Numerous studies show that heavy backpacks can cause significant stress and strain on the spine, shoulders, neck, and back, leading to poor posture and back pain. Too much weight can cause muscle soreness, back and joint pain, which may be damaging when your child grows up. The weight of the backpack should be limited to approximately 10 percent of your child’s weight, so choose only the most needed essentials to put in your child’s pack. Look for a backpack with wide, padded straps to reduce the potential for developing tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands. Finally, make sure they wear the backpack correctly so that weight is evenly distributed.
Dr. Kathleen Brite’s background is as extensive as the care she provides. As both a practicing and a teaching physician at Bayless Integrated Healthcare, she’s abreast of the latest advancements in treatment and patient care trends, and serves children and adults using a truly integrated model. She is especially interested in community medicine and is committed to eliminating barriers so that quality healthcare is accessible to all. For more information about Bayless Integrated Healthcare, please visit www.baylesshealthcare.com.