Back to School Tips and Checklist

Published on: 11/07/2013

Back to School Tips As we get closer to the beginning of the school year Nicklaus Children's Hospital, wants to offer advice that will help you deal with the most commonly encountered school related issues. At Nicklaus Children's Hospital, we are committed to making this school year a most healthy, safe and successful year for the children. We hope you find the following suggestions useful.

NUTRITION: Beating the School Lunch Boredom

Provide lunch for your child whenever possible as a healthy alternative to lunches purchased by children in the school cafeteria. A little creativity, variety and planning will be lots of fun and it is likely to avoid lunch trading with other children.
Involve children in preparing their lunch. Use this opportunity to teach them in a practical sense about the different food groups and their importance in healthy eating, in addition to providing you both the opportunity for interactive shared time.
Be creative!
  • Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches and cut out veggies.
  • Place diced or scooped out fruits on a stick and provide yogurt, cream cheese and jelly dipping sauce.
  • Banana, zucchini and whole grain breads are healthy and crunchy nutritional alternatives to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Tortilla and toasted pita chips provide a healthier alternative to fried and sodium laden chips.
  • Buy colorful bags instead of the "brown bag”. Have your child place stickers on the outside and include colorful napkins.
  • Place a little note in the lunch bag and write a new word every day with a simple definition. This is a great opportunity to stimulate learning. Of course, do not forget to write: "LOVE, Mom".
  • Avoid packing dinner leftovers requiring refrigeration such as those containing creamy sauces, chicken and fish. Food poisoning is likely to result from bacterial replication in hot climates.

Academic Success Starts with Homework

As parents we play a vital role in the academic success of our children. Good study habits start as early as kindergarten.
It is essential that we instill in our children a sense of responsibility in their intellectual development. Creating a sense of pride for academic achievement as well as an appropriate environment at home to complete homework assignments will help our children reach their full academic potential.

  • Create a time routine for your child to complete his/her homework. This structure sets expectations for the child at the end of each school day.
  • Designate a quiet work/study area away from visual and sound distractions such as radio or television. No computerized/video games should be allowed during home work time.
  • Teach and encourage your child to use an agenda. This effort stimulates the child’s organizational skills and will help meeting school assignments and deadlines. Include in this agenda PTA’s, parent-teacher conferences, school performances and other parent related school events to show your involvement and interest in his/her school activities and give children a sense of teamwork.
  • Help your child obtain references to accomplish homework such as searching the web and looking up information in books. Early enrollment and access to the public library system will foster your child’s reading habits.
  • Create a checklist to ensure readiness for the next school day. This checklist can come in the form of a funny sentence that the child will remember and use at the completion of homework.
  • Maintain constant communication with the school teacher(s) about your child's performance.
  • Make reading a daily habit by spotlighting the books in your home that are age appropriate. Even if the stories themselves offer a thrill a second, the idea of reading just might not set your child’s heart to pounding. Remember, reading is an acquired habit.
  • Be a role model!!
  • Acknowledge your child’s school work by posting and/or framing certificates, accomplishments and recognitions in a visible place such as the refrigerator door, and in the studying area.
  • Limit computer access during homework time. Allow computer use for reference information when completing an assignment. Make sure your child's internet access is age-appropriate.

Safety First

Ensuring that our children make it safe to and from school is a number one priority for parents. Observing the following tips and giving your child simple and clear instructions will help them stay safe in the road, and encourage safe sport practices.

If your child uses school bus transportation:
  • Designate a safe place for your child to wait for the school bus away from the traffic and the street. Have an adult accompany him/her if possible.
  • Instruct your child to stay away from the bus until it reaches a complete stop and he/she is invited in by the driver.
  • Drive your child to school once or twice and outline landmarks such as churches, houses or restaurants so he/she becomes familiar with the route.
  • Teach children to look both ways before crossing the street when leaving the bus. Many drivers do not observe pedestrian rules or speed limits in designated school zones.
  • Tell your child to remain seated at all times while the bus is moving. Encourage use of seat belts, if available.
If your child walks or rides his/her bicycle to school:
  • Provide a properly fitted bike helmet and instruct your child to wear it at all times while riding a bike.
  • Encourage your child to obey all traffic signals and the instructions given by the crossing guard.
  • Walk bicycles through intersections.
  • Instruct your child to always walk with a friend. Make him/her aware of stranger dangers.
If your child rides a car to and from school:
  • Make sure he/she is appropriately restrained. Teach your child this life saving habit that should take place automatically before the car gets moving.
  • Always be on time at pick up time. If you are running late, call the school and let them know to ask your child to wait for you in the school library, or make arrangements for him/her to go to a friend’s home. Always establish phone contact with the person who is keeping your child until you get there.
  • Instruct your child never to ride with a stranger unless he/she has received specific instructions from you on arranged pick up.
  • Always observe speed limits and proceed with extreme caution in school zones.

Sports Practice

  • When practicing sports requiring strenuous activity such as football, soccer, wrestling, swimming, track and field and others, make sure your child receives a sports clearance physical examination by his/her pediatrician.
  • If your child suffers from asthma make sure to notify school staff on the possible use of inhalers and other medications prior to sport practice. Scuba diving activities are not permitted on youth diagnosed with asthma.
  • Talk to your child’s coach about the use of protective gear. Discuss with children the importance of appropriate use of asthma medication devices whenever engaged in sports practice.
  • Hot weather and humid climates are the perfect settings for dehydration when practicing outdoor sports. Teach your child to increase water intake with increased physical activity.

Parents Resources on Back to School

Health information

Nutrition and Healthy Snack Ideas

Educational School supplies

Safety Information
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