“First day of school! Wake up! Come on. First day of school,” the little fish shouts at his dad in the opening scene of Finding Nemo. The first day of school is an important transition for students of all ages, and it is often a challenging one. That is particularly true this fall as we start yet another academic year marked by the pandemic.
Parents have an important role in preparing their children for a successful school year. First, start adjusting the schedule. Many families relax the rules during the summer and may be in the habit of staying up late and sleeping in. Make sure your child has time to adjust to their school year routine before that first day. Second, develop good habits by acting ahead. Having the backpack ready and clothing laid out the night before saves scrambling in the morning and reduces the risk of forgotten items. Invite your children to help decide if they want school lunch or a sack lunch and let them help pack their lunch boxes.
Back to school checkups for your children provide a valuable opportunity to talk to the doctor about physical, developmental, and social changes. Additionally, children may need immunizations: boosters for tetanus and pertussis, or shots to protect them from HPV, meningitis, and Covid.