Back to School Tips With Pediatrician, Dr. Chasity Caperton

September 5, 2019


Studies show that children who eat nutritious breakfasts do better in school, have better concentration, and more energy throughout the day. Hunger will affect a child’s class performance. Bring on the protein for breakfast!

Immediately when school starts back from the summer break, create an environment that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study. A no electronic distractions rule during homework time is conducive to study, with the exception of low volume music in the background. Never do a child’s homework for him/her, but be available for questions and encouragement.

Let your child know that you expect him/her to succeed. Which means, that you expect him/her to try his/her best at all endeavors.  This expectation, along with a home environment that promotes learning, will give your child a greater chance of becoming the best student he/she can be.

Talk with your child.  Find out what he/she feels about the classroom, teachers, and classmates. Discuss her/his anxieties and excitements regarding the new school year. Now is also a great time to have the “bully discussion” regarding physical, emotional, and social bullying. Social bullying is the most often used form in the modern days.  Help your child learn how to respond and monitor your child’s social media. Let them know that bullying is never OK and be a positive role model.

Develop and stick to a routine early in the school year. Children thrive in structured environments.  Every routine will vary, but the key is to make it the same every day so your child knows what is expected.  This includes before school routines, after school routines, and bedtime routines!

A critical component of a child’s success in school revolves around sleep. Studies show that sleep deprived children do not function at his/her full capacity, and will not concentrate or learn as well as they’re able.  Once again, develop a bedtime routine. Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night, even when it’s hard.  The routine will help your child settle down and fall asleep easier. Turn off all electronics 1-2 hours prior to bedtime. This means no TV on in the bedroom, no phone playing YouTube. Optimal amounts of sleep for children is 10-12 hours, and adolescents 8-10 hours.

Teach your child early the importance of good hand hygiene. They should always wash hands with soap and water prior to eating (sanitizer is ok if soap and water is not available). Resist the urge to touch their eyes/mouth/nose prior to washing hands as well. This is the avenue that many germs take.  Never share food or drinks with their friends (can anyone say strep?).  Do not send your child to school if he or she has a temperature of 100.4 or greater, even if it goes back to normal with Tylenol or Ibuprofen.  Teach your child how to cough and sneeze into their elbow to decrease the spread of germs. Also, the healthy diet along with a good sleep routine, will boost his/her immunity to better fight off the nasty germs of school!

Dr. Chasity Caperton is a Pediatrician at UP Health System - Doctors Park in Escanaba. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 906.789.8770. Click here to see Dr. Caperton's profile.