With most school menus pre-planned and posted, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one that is not nutritious or healthy. One of the biggest issues we have with our local school districts is that children have to pay to have a bottle of water during school. However, high calorie drinks such as juice, chocolate milk are served free of charge. Each 12-ounce soft drink/ juice or chocolate milk contains approximately 10- 15 teaspoons of sugar and 150-200 calories. Drinking just one of these drinks per day increases a child's risk of obesity by 60%. Send your child a bottle of water for them to drink during lunch instead.
Developing good study habits
Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework starting at a young age. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study. Schedule ample time for homework; build this time into choices about participation in after school activities. Establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time. Children should probably not have more than one hour of screen time every day. Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child's homework for him/her. Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
If your child is struggling with a particular subject, speak with your child's teacher for recommendations on how you or another person can help your child at home or at school. Remember, learning issues don’t get better on their own. The best strategy is to pick them up as early as possible during the school year and get the appropriate help for your child. Don’t wait until your child is failing to get help. Please bring up any learning problems or issues with the child’s teacher, principal and of course your pediatrician.
Some children need help organizing their homework. Checklists, timers, and parental supervision can help overcome homework problems. This is a great time to establish those organizational skills that are going to help your child throughout life.
Some children may need help remembering their assignments. Work with your child and their teacher to develop an appropriate way to keep track of their assignments – such as an assignment notebook.
Finally one of the most important factors for your child to be successful at school is to get enough sleep. Last month’s article discussed the sleep needs for different ages and any sleep issues in more detail. Establish a good sleep routine. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness.
The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time; hopefully these tips will help you and your child get off to a great start!
Xavier Sevilla MD FAAP
Xcel Pediatrics - Lakewood Ranch
8936 77th Terrace East Suite 103