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Back to School Checklist

Posted 7/28/2017 by UHBlog

If you have questions about your child’s readiness for school, we can provide answers.

Back to School Checklist

It takes more than just having the right school supplies and a new set of clothes to be ready to go back to school. It also means making sure your child is physically and emotionally ready to start classes, says pediatrician Jason Tatka, DO.

As the summer days start to wane, Dr. Tatka offers these five suggestions about what you should be doing to prepare your child for the new school year:

  1. Practice the five Rs. It used to be that reading, writing and ’rithmetic were the R’s educators wanted you to concentrate on. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now says that the R's parents should be focusing on with their younger children to get them ready for school success are:

    • Reading together every day
    • Rhyming, playing and cuddling daily
    • Routine development, particularly around meals, sleep and play
    • Rewards, which are given out for positive behavior
    • Relationships that are nurturing and aid in developing bonds

    “These suggestions have a twofold value,” Dr. Tatka says. “It gets your child into a healthy routine at home, and it also sets the groundwork for what school is all about.”

  2. Complete paperwork. You can avoid a lot of last-minute back-to-school stress by making sure all your child’s emergency contact information and medical records are up to date, Dr. Tatka says. And at a time when 4 to 6 percent of children in the United States are affected by food allergies, it’s also important to think through an allergy and medicine management plan.

    “If Joey is allergic to peanuts and has an EpiPen, everyone needs to be clear about who will be administering the medication if an emergency situation were to come to pass,” Dr. Tatka says.

  3. Create a family media use plan. More and more, technology is being integrated into classrooms and curriculums. But at home your kids still need to learn how to engage without their electronic devices.

    “Technology is everywhere, but there’s really no substitute for that parental interaction,” he says.

    To help navigate this balance, the AAP recently launched online tools that you and your child can use to create a personalized family media use policy. You can find this online by searching for "how to make a family media use plan."

  4. Set a sleep – and technology – curfew. When it comes to school performance, there’s no substitute for a good night’s rest, Dr. Tatka says.

    “Staying up for 20 or 30 more minutes texting – or watching another video on your iPad – deprives your child of sleep,” Dr. Tatka says.

    And that late-night dose of stimulation also makes it harder for your child to fall asleep when he or she does hit the bed. For that reason, the AAP recommends shutting off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.

  5. Fuel up. Studies show that kids who regularly eat breakfast perform better academically.

    “It also kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day,” Dr. Tatka says.

Jason Tatka, DO is a pediatrician at University Hospitals, Portage Pediatrics. You can request an appointment with Dr. Tatka or any other doctor online.

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