It is nearly time for kids to return to school after the summer break. The transition can sometimes be difficult for parents and kids. Maybe we’ve all been staying up a little too late since school got out and for many getting up early has not been a priority. It’s time to get back into a routine.
Resume normal bedtime schedules a few weeks before school begins, especially for younger children. Little one starting school for the first time are likely going to be exhausted by the process of going to school anyway.
Moms and dads can help by making sure they get enough sleep. And during the first few weeks they might want to take a nap after they get home from school. That can be a normal reaction for kids experiencing a new daily routine.
Teenagers will likely need to change some habits as well. The summer might have been a time for working late and staying up later. Teens should really be in bed by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. That gives them the opportunity to possibly get eight hours of sleep and get breakfast before the bus comes.
In bed by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. means in bed with the intention of going to sleep, not watching TV, working on the computer or texting on the cellphone. Now is a good time to start limiting screen time for TVs, cellphones and computers.
The following tips can help reduce screen time in your home:
♦ Limit all types of screen time to no more than 2 hours a day.
♦ Take the TV out of your child’s bedroom. Children with TVs in their rooms keep their eyes on the screen an average of 1.5 hours more a day.
♦ Avoid using TV or other technology as a reward or punishment. It can inflate its importance. As an alternate reward for your child, try a trip to the park, a festival, playground, or a visit to a relative’s or friend’s house instead.
♦ Involve your child in non-screen-related activities, such as sports or a hobby.
♦ Encourage play and exercise for your child. Plan other fun activities for your child, so he or she has choices instead of using technology.
♦ Do not allow TV watching or using tablets during mealtimes or right before bed.
Immunizations are another thing parents need to check on if their child is entering school for the first time.
Immunizations protect children from a variety of diseases including tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps and chickenpox. Because vaccines are available, many of these diseases are less common than they once were, but despite being rare, they still exist, and vaccination is recommended.
Children should receive the following vaccines between birth and six years of age:
♦ Hepatitis A
♦ Hepatitis B
♦ Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)
♦ Haemophilus influenza B (Hib)
♦ Chickenpox (Varicella)
♦ Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
Check with your pediatrician to make sure your child’s shots are up to date.
There are also two tests students should take as they enter school: vision and hearing tests.
More than one in 20 preschoolers has a vision problem that can lead to vision loss if not treated.
One in four school-aged children have some type of vision problem. Without proper screening, vision problems may not be noticed.
It is recommended that children 5 years and older have an annual visual screening by their doctor and eye examinations as necessary.
Specific tests and charts may be used to measure both near and distant vision. For preschoolers, these charts may consist of pictures or stories instead of letters of the alphabet.
Also, nearly one out of five children ages 12 to 19 may have a hearing problem. Listening to loud music with headphones can gradually affect hearing. But using a lawn mower, playing in a band at school or talking on a cell phone could damage hearing, too.
A hearing screening for a child 3 years and older involves a test that uses a machine that produces sounds at different volumes and pitches in your child’s ears. The child usually wears some type of earphones. The child is simply asked to respond in some way when the tone is heard in the earphone.