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Practical Tips to Prep Your Child for Back-to-School Season

ML boys

As much as summers are enjoyable and fun, they do not last forever. School is here! Preparing well for the school year can go a long way.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published 12 practical tips to help you get ready for the back-to-school season.

We summarized them here for your convenience:

Tip #1: Schedule a back-to-school physical exam. Make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. Get those health forms ready. Address any concerns you may have with your pediatrician.

Tip #2: Engage in conversations with your child regarding the use of social media, which can be beneficial and/or problematic for some.  Although social media can be used for education and information sharing, excessive use or misuse may not be beneficial for children and adolescents. Recent studies on social media use among children and adolescents reported that prolonged use may increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems 1 . Proper education and guidance by parents and caretakers are essential in ensuring appropriate use of internet and social media.

Tip #3: Make it safe and easy for your child to discuss tough issues with you. Sincerely listen to their concerns and remind them that it will be in a judgement-free environment.

Tip #4: Make sure that your child eats breakfast. According to Dr. Vandana Bhide, a Mayo Clinic Pediatrician, immediate effects of breakfast include better mood and cognitive performance. Long term effects show lowered risk for obesity.
Generally, a healthy breakfast should include complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and a small amount of healthy fat.

Choose three out of four of these food groups for a healthy breakfast meal:
Whole grains — Whole-grain toast, whole-grain cereals, whole-grain English
muffins, and whole-grain waffles.

Tip #5: Children need supervision, especially during early and middle childhood. Have a responsible adult help them get ready before and after school.

Tip #6: Make sure they get enough sleep. Set a consistent bedtime and stick to it. This will help them perform better in school.

To ensure sleep health, the timing, duration, and quality of sleep are all important. A study released in the Sleep Journal in 2021 states that “the regularity of bedtimes and wake times helps to maintain a healthy sleep rhythm for children and adolescents.” A consistent bedtime routine is associated with better sleep outcomes – earlier bedtime, shorter time to onset of sleep, reduced nighttime awakenings, and longer sleep duration.

Parents should also discourage electronic use prior to bedtime. “There is consistent evidence that the presence of electronic items in the child’s bedroom or the use of electronics at bedtime is associated with shorter sleep duration across development.”

Tip #7: Create a homework-friendly environment for your child. A consistent workspace that is quiet and without distractions can help them build better study habits/routine.

Tip #8: Supervise computer and internet use. Turn off TV and electronics during homework time. Help them build a good habit of concentrating and focusing on one thing.

Tip #9: For children who need extra help on homework, parental supervision, checklists, and timers may help.

Tip #10: If there is a subject your child is struggling with, speak with the teacher and ask for advice on how you can help your child improve.

Tip #11: If you think your child needs special education services, reach out to your school, and ask for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) evaluation.

Tip #12: Reach out to your pediatrician for any concerns regarding your child, whether it be behavioral or mental. Look out for any changes in sleep, weight, and eating habits. They are here to help.


1. Bozzola, E., Spina, G., Agostiniani, R., Barni, S., Russo, R., Scarpato, E., Di Mauro, A., Di
Stefano, A. V., Caruso, C., Corsello, G., & Staiano, A. (2022). The Use of Social Media in
Children and Adolescents: Scoping Review on the Potential Risks. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(16), 9960.

2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2023, August 8). American Academy of Pediatrics: 12 tips to prepare for the return to school. Home.

3. Meltzer, L. J., Williamson, A. A., & Mindell, J. A. (2021). Pediatric sleep health: It matters, and so does how we define it. Sleep medicine reviews, 57, 101425.
Sarang Sarang Choi, MD, MBA Sarang Choi MD, MBA Sarang is a clinical instructor at One Brooklyn Health, coordinating the medical students rotating in Pediatrics. She earned her pre-medical degree from Boston College and completed her medical degree from the Philippines. She likes to spend her free time catching up with longtime friends and enjoying good food.

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