The start of school is just around the corner — Aug. 16 for our Leander ISD kiddos — so if you haven’t already started getting your student ready, now is the time. We have a few tips to help:
Start a morning schedule
If your child has gotten used to sleeping in over the summer, you need to introduce earlier wake times before school starts so they won’t be dragging on the first day. Within Leander ISD, elementary school begins at 7:30 a.m. Middle school and high school students get to sleep in a little more, with classes starting at 9:05 a.m. and 8:15 a.m., respectively.
Also important is to eat a good breakfast — studies have shown that students who eat breakfast have better concentration and are more alert. Talk to your child about what they would want for breakfast. If possible, make it the night before so you aren’t crunched for time in the morning. If you have time, consider eating breakfast as a family — something that is especially important if your busy schedules don’t allow you to sit down together for a meal later in the day. Our Director of Fun is making sure Bryson students are fed on the first day of school with a Back-to-School Breakfast at The Backyard on Aug. 16.
Move Up Bedtime
If your child has been sleeping late, they are probably staying up late, too. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends nine to 12 hours of sleep a night for children ages 6 to 12 and eight to 10 hours for teens. Moving up bedtime incrementally allows your child to ease into the new sleep schedule. Consider setting a routine of relaxing activities — a warm bath, reading, cuddling with a parent — to help settle young children and prepare them for sleep. For teens, screen time should end at least one hour before bedtime as it prohibits the melatonin release needed to fall asleep.
Consider a Lunch Schedule
It’s not only important to train your child for falling asleep and waking up at the appropriate time — you’ll also want to train your child’s stomach! Find out what time lunch will be at school and start serving your child lunch at that time. This way, they won’t be starving and distracted during class.
Preparing for Homework
Will your child do homework as soon as they get home from school? Right before dinner? Whatever you decide, go ahead and make that time TV-free right now. During that time, encourage your child to read, write a letter to grandparents or some other activity that engages the brain. They’ll be ready to slide right into managing daily homework.
Learn the Way to School
If you’re lucky enough to have a school within walking or biking distance (like many Bryson residents whose children attend North Elementary), you’ll want to practice the route well in advance — especially if your child will be going without an adult. Not sure if they can manage the responsibility? Let them pretend you aren’t there on these practice runs. You can also find other parents whose children will walk or bike the same path and take turns being the adult ensuring the kids get to school safely so you don’t have to do it every day.
Pack the Backpack Correctly
Before you can pack the backpack, you need a backpack! Make sure to choose one with padded shoulder straps and a padded back. When you go to pack it, try to use all of its compartments to keep all the books and school supplies organized. Put heavier items closest to the center of the back. Remember that a backpack should never weigh more than 10 or 20 percent of your child’s weight. If your child is a natural packrat, go through the backpack once a week to remove unneeded items (and weight).