GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In exactly one week thousands of West Michigan children will be waking up for the first day of school. Excitement for the new year can quickly turn into anxiety, if students are not prepared. Many parents say they experience Back-to-School stress as well as their children, especially when they are out of the rhythm of a normal routine. Experts say re-establishing those routines can help mitigate some of the biggest challenges this time of year.
According to the Child Mind Institute, "Back to School" plans can help, especially if they include focus on three areas: Morning routines, homework and bedtime. Experts say grade-school children need between 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Surprisingly, it's usually parents that sabotage sleep schedules - by not being consistent. Parents are encouraged to set a strict bedtime and stick to it. It is also advised to have kids put away all electronics at least 2 hours before bedtime.
The National Sleep Foundation offers advice on helping children get proper sleep.
Consistency is key in the morning too. And, checklists are a great way to make sure kids have what they need and know what's expected, before they head out of the door.
As far as getting back in the habit of doing homework, parents can help by making sure they have a designated work space and set time do homework each day. If they don't have homework parents should encourage children to use that time to read. Experts, also, suggest not allowing kids to use devices during study time, unless needed for school work.
It is most successful when families re-establish school routines a few weeks in advance. But, it's never too late. However, it is recommended to ease into it to prevent creating anxiety for everyone.
Check out more back to school content at www.wzzm13.com/backtoschool.
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