Back to School Advice for Parents and Kids

My son has had his backpack packed for Kindergarten for over a year now.  Clearly, he's not nervous for his first day of school, and his confidence is inspiring.  He was even trying to convince my husband and I that he doesn't need us at the bus stop.  "I'm almost six" he said, as he reassured us that he doesn't need us waiting with him.  But, he's still our baby.

The first day of Kindergarten is a big milestone, and I'm always open to new tips and tricks to be more prepared.  Every little bit helps! The American Academy of Pediatrics has a great list of back to school tips that I wanted to share with you.  Reading over these tips is a great refresher for back to school season, especially for moms like me who have a child in Kindergarten for the first time.


  • Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun. She'll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
  • Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus.
  • If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day.


  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
  • If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and they may be difficult to roll in snow.


  • Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home. With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
  • Try to get your child's school to stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice in the vending machines.
  • Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child's risk of obesity by 60%. Restrict your child's soft drink consumption.


  • Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that offers privacy.
  • Schedule ample time for homework.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.
  • Supervise computer and internet use.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child's homework for 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, and you aren't able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child's teacher first.

In your house, who was more nervous for the first week back at school: you or your child?

 Source: American Academy of Pediatrics