Summer has flown by, but with only a few more weeks left of freedom, make sure your kids are geared up for a healthy school year. Pediatric occupational therapist Marissa Edwards, pediatrician Dr. Denise Lippitt and American Dietetics Association spokesperson Sarah Krieger offer their insight.
Marissa, who works at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Chicago, offers her best tip for calming back-to-school nerves: Take your kids to their classroom—and even to meet their teacher, if possible—during the last week of summer. Use pictures to make a visual schedule of what their first day of school will look like, and set up a playdate with other students in their future classes, she says. Getting comfortable with new—and old—faces can help take the edge off.
If your kids have spent the summer staying awake until sunrise, Dr. Lippitt, who practices at Medical Center Pediatrics in West Bloomfield, Michigan, suggests getting kids on a school-appropriate sleep schedule at least a week or two before school starts. However, she says, "They ought to have a good sleep hygiene the whole year round."