It’s been a great summer here in Louisiana, but it’s time to get everyone back in the groove of classes, sports practice — and getting up early once again! Here are some tips to help your kids make a healthy transition back to school.

1. Make sure they get enough sleep! Here are some tips to help your child get the sleep he or she needs during the school year.

• Power off the devices. Good sleep hygiene means all devices should be turned off an hour before bedtime.

• Consider darkening shades. The clock says it’s bedtime, but it’s still light out. This may interfere with a child’s sleep. Darkening shades can block light and help your child fall asleep more easily.

• Ease off caffeine. Your child or teen should stop drinking anything with caffeine, including sodas and energy drinks, after noon. By bedtime, the stimulant will be phased out of their system.

2. Get your child a health exam and/or sports physical. Any student should get an annual wellness checkup, but also consider a sports physical checkup. This type of checkup reviews heart and lung health, including diagnosing any breathing or exertion issues like asthma. It also includes an examination of a child’s muscles and bones.
If your child isn’t due for an annual checkup, you can get a health exam or physical at many walk-in clinics.

3. Visit an eye doctor. Good vision is critical to children’s success in the classroom. Checking your child’s eyes before issues arise is very important!
Some signs there could be issues can include:

• Recurring headaches while reading or using digital devices

• Sitting too close to a TV screen

• Squinting while viewing things in the distance

• Losing place while reading, or slipping behind in reading ability

• Poor concentration

4. Make sure backpacks fit well. As kids get older, they tend to carry heavier books. A load of books with a laptop can weigh up to 30 pounds! That may equal shoulder, neck, and back pain for children and young adults, and affect their posture.
Make sure your child’s backpack fits well, with padding on the shoulder straps that can be loosened and tightened to ensure a good fit, depending on what’s inside. Make sure the backpack is always worn with both straps over both shoulders.

Paying attention to the big (and little) issues that face your child heading back to school should help everyone in the family have a happier and healthier year!