August 25, 2021

As your kiddos go back to school this year, they are adjusting from summer days to school days. Here’s how you can help get your child off to a good start.


Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep helps our children stay focused, improves concentration and academic performance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and teens who do not get enough sleep are at a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, poor mental health and injuries. They are also more likely to have attention and behavior problems.

How much sleep do your children need? Children ages 6-12 need 9 to 12 hours of sleep and teens 13-18 need 8 to 10 hours says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. If your child wakes up at 7 a.m. for school, 8 p.m. is a good bedtime. By the time your child is 12, a 9 p.m. bedtime is reasonable.  

Each night, your kiddo should have a bedtime routine such as bathing, brushing their teeth and reading. As they get older, they will do this on their own. 

Set rules regarding screens, video games, devices and TV. Light from a TV, iPad, phone or gaming device can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin which makes your kids feel they aren’t ready for sleep. Turn off the electronics and TV at least 1 hour before bedtime.

Gradually adjust bedtimes about two weeks before the first day of school. Try 5 to 15 minutes each day. On weekends and holidays, try to keep your kids on a similar bedtime and wake time. Mondays will go a lot more smoothly!


Breakfast is key to a successful school day. Breakfast has been linked to a better memory, better test scores, better attention span, decreased irritability, healthier body weights and improved overall nutrition according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To give your children the nutrients and energy they need to start their day, on-the-go breakfasts may be in order. Make sure breakfasts are balanced and contain fruit, protein and whole grains. Since mornings are hectic, try these tips.  

  • Place breakfast items on the counter the night before. Put out whole grain bread, peanut butter, bananas, instant oatmeal or whole grain cereal with plates, bowls, knives and spoons.
  • String cheese, yogurt, cut up fruit and hard-boiled eggs are healthy, fast breakfast foods.

Check in

Students tend to be busy in the fall with school, sports and activities. If you can’t sit down for a family meal, check in with your kids when you drive them to or from school, activities or home. Show interest and chances are they’ll talk.

Have a great school year!