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Back-to-school tips: Beyond supplies and shots

August 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The first day of school for many kids will be happening in the next two weeks. You might be stressing over the usual things: school supplies, new clothes, vaccinations and eye exams. But experts say you might be skipping some back to school basics.

Alhambra 4th-grader Anais Banuelos and her little sister Brisa are going down their back-to-school checklist.

All set -- except Kaiser Permanente Regional Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Robert Riewerts says many parents tend to forget the fundamentals when it comes to preparing for school.

"I think the most important thing is to make sure that they're emotionally ready. So if your child is changing schools or starting school for the first time, you might want to start to have that conversation," said Riewerts.

"We've already talking about the possibility of who their teacher could be and who could be in their classroom during the year," said Gloria Banuelos, the girls' mother.

Dr. Riewerts says if your child is going to a new school, walk around their new campus before school starts.

Getting kids emotionally ready also means getting them back on a regular sleep schedule.

"I've always been a fan of not having a television in a child's bedroom," said Riewerts.

Anais and Brisa often play games and watch movies on their tablets. But studies show the blue light from electronic screens makes it more difficult for kids to sleep.

"In my opinion when a child goes to sleep the electronics should be off," said Riewerts.

You know what else is off during the summer? Healthy eating. Dr. Reiwert's advice is to start your kids off right.

"Get them back onto regular early breakfast, and eating a good healthy breakfast before they go off to school is important," said Riewerts.

Getting kids to eat and sleep well is always easier when they get daily exercise.

Anais and Brisa start school in two weeks. Their mom's already got them on their school schedule so they're all set for the challenges of a new year.

"Because it's a level up, and so it might be harder," said Anais.

Another back to school tip? Check the fit of backpacks and make sure they aren't too heavy. Poorly fitting or overly heavy backpacks can cause back, neck or shoulder pain.

It's also a good time to reinforce back-to-school safety: Remind kids to look both ways before crossing, and teach them never to stop and talk to strangers or get into a stranger's car.


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