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As much as the kids are dreading it, the fall has replaced summer and the time has come to start another school year. If you are having trouble getting them into the back-to-school mentality, use the following tips to ensure an organized and successful new academic year.
The transition from summer to school can be tough for kids and parents, but getting the school year off to a good start can build your child's confidence, boost their attitude and improve their academic performance throughout the entire year.
Thirty-year occupational therapist Nancy Lawton-Shirley knows there's an effective combination needed to set kids up for success.
"Even kids who know what to expect can experience anxiety," says Lawton-Shirley. "There are more after-school activities, and of course the social and academic pressures associated with school." Lawton-Shirley suggests the following tips as a way to help kids refocus this fall:
During the school year, it's important to set a nightly routine without too much disruption over the weekend. Explain to your child the reason for doing this-so they don't get over-tired or overwhelmed by school and after-school activities. Similarly, sustain a mealtime routine, especially eating a healthy breakfast. You may want to try to include more protein in the morning and carbohydrates in the evening-it really makes a difference. A good night's sleep and well-balanced eating habits are proven effective ways to set a good foundation for the day.
Review the materials sent by the school. Share information with your child such as their teacher's name, school supply requirements, sign-ups for after-school activities, etc. Pick up your school supplies early and encourage your child to help with choosing them. Consider stocking up on supplies you'll need to replace throughout the academic year. All of this preparation will help you and your kids ease into the first week back...and beyond.
With homework and sports practices in full-swing, it's easy to get overloaded. Be sure to set aside quiet time and employ transitional tools. One such tool Lawton-Shirley uses is MeMoves, an interactive DVD program that helps calm and focus the mind and body. The person watching it mimics what they see on screen for a short, 3-minute sequence, transforming them from chaos to calm. "Teachers love to use it right after recess or other times when they need their students to calm down and concentrate," says Lawton-Shirley. "It's also a great tool to use at home." Find out more at www.thinkingmoves.com.
While downtime is important, physical activity is crucial to a kid's ability to stay healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that kids who are active will have stronger muscles and bones, a leaner body, be less likely to become overweight, and will have a better outlook on life. Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges - from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.
Saving Money on Your Kid's Back-to-School Shopping is as Easy as Learning the ABCs
Ask the Experts: How Can I Keep My Child Physically Active During the School Year
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