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Are the kids ready to start the school year again? In North Carolina and elsewhere in the country, back-to-school time is approaching quickly. Our dentists and hygienists love our patients. We always strive to support parents’ efforts to raise healthy children. Preparation to start another school year can cause chaos and stress. So, what can parents do to make sure kids are ready to go back to class? In addition, how can moms and dads encourage good health habits?

A low-stress start to the school year

Confidence and fitting in: When it comes to back-to-school, may students have concerns about fitting in with others. Encourage your child to approach the new school year with confidence. Help him or her to know what to expect when it comes to dress code, if applicable. Provide guidance when it comes to appearance, but try to let your child have some control over clothes and shoes.  Encourage self-expression within the limits of rules.

Settling back into a bedtime routine:  Was your family’s bedtime consistently late over the past few weeks of summer? You may need to practice bedtime and an earlier wake-up at least a few days before you start the school year. Experts recommend that children get around 10 hours of sleep per night. Kids who get more sleep tend to have higher test scores.  Just like us, children get grumpy when tired. It is also more difficult to concentrate when lacking rest.

Control back-to-school spending: Parents can reduce shopping stress by making a list and sticking to it. Get the school supplies needed and save where you can with coupons and sales. Remember to set aside some funds for new clothes in case your child has a growth spurt during the school year.

Good health for the school year

The classroom may be an ideal environment for spreading germs, which is why your child may get sick soon after going back. Remind the kids to wash hands as often as possible with soap and warm water. Other healthy school-year habits include staying active and eating healthy fruits and vegetables. Do not let them gorge on too much junk food after school. Remind kids and teens to make sensible choices with their lunch money. Also, do not let busy morning and night schedules get in the way of proper tooth brushing. Make sure the entire family always brushes teeth, at minimum, morning and night. In addition, floss and avoid too many sugary or sticky snacks.

Always consult a pediatrician for any concerns regarding your child’s body health. The dentist is the best resource for understanding oral health. So call the dentist’s office with any questions about your child’s teeth, how to keep them clean, and if any tooth or gum pain occurs. Remember proper mouth protection for youth sports also.

We wish you a happy, healthy, and safe back-to-school time!