Doctor advises on establishing back-to-school routines

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - We are just days away from the start of the new school year. Many families in our area are making sure their children are prepared. Doctors encourage parents to establish their children’s back-to-school routine before the first day.

Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health says now is the time for parents to set their child’s bedtime routine for school.

“Children need to be well rested so that they can thrive in school and learn, said Stubblefield. “We don’t want our kids to jump right into school and to be struggling because they’re sleepy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children ages 6 to 13 need at least nine hours of sleep per night, and teenagers need at least eight. Stubblefield says in order to get enough sleep you must create a good sleep environment with minimal distractions.

“If their phone is by their bed buzzing all night, they hear it, whether they say they do or not. It’s not letting their brain get into those different patterns of sleep, and that’s very very important,” said Stubblefield.

Nutrition is also key. Experts says children need to eat a well-balanced diet and caution for them not to skip breakfast.

“The problem is that your brain just doesn’t work very well when you’re hungry. Make sure that they’ve got the fuel they need for the day,” said Stubblefield.

He says whenever there is an opportunity for the family to eat together, you should do it.

“That’s been shown to be good for children for many reasons, including possibly weight control and then just socialization,” said Stubblefield.

Stubblefield encourages parents to incorporate a media plan in their child’s routine. Limiting screen time to a certain number of minutes per day can also help. Doctors say it is important for kids to get an adequate amount of physical activity throughout the week.

Experts encourage doing trial runs for getting ready in the morning a few days before so you can tweak the schedule accordingly.

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