kid's back

Don't want your student to have backaches? Make sure they are carrying their backpack the right way. 

We know, we know. Summer seems to just be hitting its groove, and already it's time to think about again hitting the books.

Dr. Aimee Ferrell, a pediatrician with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health, has some advice to get the school year off on the right foot:

1. Get back on schedule

It’s important to set a bedtime and wake-up routine that allows for plenty of rest before the school year starts. Ease back into the routine by setting bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night. Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s health, and kids are supposed to get approximately 10 hours of sleep per night to function properly in an academic setting.

2. Plan ahead for nutritious meals

School nights can get very busy very fast, especially when extracurricular activities start taking up afternoons. Spending a few minutes ahead of time to plan what your kids will eat during the week can save a lot of stress. Make a comprehensive list before hitting the grocery store. If packing nutritious lunches is a struggle, think of foods your kids love at home that you could pack in a thermos rather than buying the more popular processed options.

3. Choose the right backpack

Look for a properly fitted backpack with two padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Make sure it's the right size for your child, then make sure they know how to carry it properly over the strongest mid-back muscles. Encourage your child to make frequent stops to their desk or locker rather than carrying all of their books for a day all at once.

4. Do your homework on homework

Homework can sometimes overwhelm children and families, but planning and establishing ground rules in advance can help. Set aside a quiet space for homework that is free from distraction, and keep school supplies near this designated area. Make sure your children understand the rules about completing homework before play time to minimize issues during the week.

5. Teach your kids how to cope with bullies

Bullies are an unfortunate reality for whom children need to be prepared. You can help your child by providing some guidelines on how to react and how not to. The best approach is typically to ignore a bully and not to encourage them. If the bullying is significant, it should be reported. Sometimes role playing with your child can help them feel comfortable with knowing how to handle the situation before it arises.

6. Update all vaccinations and get any required physical exams

Immunizations are prescribed at various ages up through young adulthood, so ask your child’s pediatrician if any are needed. If your child plays sports, they may need a physical before beginning practice. It’s also a good time for all children to receive a well check so they begin a new school year on a healthy note.