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Back-to-school tips to start your year off right

A successful school year begins with preparation. SSM Health is here to help re-establish (or establish) helpful routines to make the transition into the school year easier. From getting your child back on a regular sleep schedule to setting expectations for after school activities, Dr. Lindsay Geier, SSM Health pediatrician, speaks to what you can do to start this year on the right track.

Catch up on sleep

The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be emphasized enough. “Most kids need between 10-12 hours of sleep a night. A great trick is to determine when your child needs to wake up and count backwards from there,” shared Dr. Geier. “If your child isn’t ready to wake up in the morning or struggles waking up, it’s a good indication they’re not getting enough sleep.”

As the school year approaches, get sleep schedules back on track by going to bed and waking up a few minutes earlier each day. Another tip? Turn off electronics an hour before bedtime to help reduce the blue light effect from screens that can lead to not feeling sleepy at bedtime or preventing quality sleep.

Make time for meals

A bit of time spent preparing for back to school meals can really pay off when it comes to scheduling a dinnertime routine.

“If your kiddos are involved in after-school activities, finding time for family meals can be tough,” says Dr. Geier. “Rather than having them get home and eat a bunch of snacks before heading to their activities, have them eat a full meal. It may seem a little strange eating at 4 p.m., but it will be healthier and more filling than snacks.”

Manage expectations of after-school activities

With the start of school, extracurricular activities also begin ramping back up. While sports and other fun activities are great to participate in, it’s important to not overload your child or family’s schedule.

“Limit your child’s extracurricular activities based on their age. For as many years of age, that should be the maximum number of hours spent activities outside of school like playing a sport or piano practice. As an example, if your child is eight years old, they should spend no more than eight hours a week involved in activities,” shared Dr. Geier.

Visit your pediatrician

As we approach a new school year, it’s important to remember that visiting regularly with your child’s pediatrician is the best way for your child to have a complete exam. Back to school is the perfect time to get your child in for a visit to discuss growth and development, address concerns, and get up-to-date on routine immunizations.

To schedule a visit with an SSM Health pediatrician, go to

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