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School has started back again, and whether your child is going for the first time or returning for another year, you can give them a strong start to the new year. The American Academy of Pediatrics and several other experts suggest several things to help your child succeed.
Breakfast and Lunch
A nutritious breakfast can help with both energy and focus. IF your school does not provide breakfast, providing your child with a breakfast that contains at least some protein can be incredibly beneficial.
Whether in the morning or packed with their lunch, avoiding soda can reduce your child's risk of child obesity by as much as 60%. For reference the average soda has roughly 10 teaspoons of sugar.
Many schools also offer vending machines, food carts, or food at school stores. All food served during the school day must meet USDA nutrition standards, and stock healthy options like fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products and fruit juice.
In general, schools will provide a menu of the month or year's lunch menu options. If your child does not like a particular option on the menu, consider preparing a packed lunch they are more likely to eat, to provide them adequate nutrition for the day ahead.
Early to Middle Childhood
Children in early to middle childhood should have adult supervision. A responsible adult should help them get ready in the morning as well as watching them after school.
Older children, 10-12, should not generally come home to an empty house unless particularly mature. If adult supervision is not available, they should check in with a neighbor or by phone to a parent/guardian when arriving home.
If you choose an after-school program for your child, inquire about the training of the staff. There should be a high staff-to-child ratio, trained persons to address health issues and emergencies, and the rooms and the playground should be safe
An enviroment conductive to studying, even at a young age, is important for learning and homework. Whether it is a quiet place in their bedroom or another place in the house, free from distractions, the quite can promote study
Internet, television and screen time should be supervised, especially with children of a younger age.
Schedule Ample Time
Ample time, each day, should be scheduled for homework. During this time TV and other electronic distractions should stay off during this time.
Be available to your child to answer questions, but do not do their homework.
Getting enough sleep is critical for a child's learning and focus. Having a consistent bed time and routine can aid in a child's ability to get to bed and fall asleep at a normal time.
Turn off all electronics
Have your child turn off electronics well before bedtime.
Getting Enough Sleep
Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The optimal amount of sleep for most younger children is 10-12 hours per night and for adolescents (13-18 year of age) is in the range of 8-10 hours per night.
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