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Back to School Checklist for Happy, Healthy Kids

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August has arrived, cueing the end of summer. No more camps, beach trips, or sleeping in on the weekdays for the kids. It’s time to get your game face on to prepare them for a smooth back to school transition. This checklist is a step-by-step guide to ensure your children have everything they need for success.

1. Stock up on supplies. The early bird gets the juicy, money saving worm. Get your kids the best quality supplies at the best prices now while the stores are well-stocked. The longer you wait, the worse the unnecessary stress of making those last minute preparations will be for both you and your kids. Spare them and yourself the hassle – get started now by checking out all the stores that are offering back to school sales.

2. Schedule a doctor’s appointment. The period right before the school year begins is perfect for scheduling your kids’ check-up appointments. For their safety and that of the kids in their classes, it’s important to make sure your kids are updated on their vaccines. If you have a hard time keeping up with which immunizations your kids have or haven’t had, consider starting a detailed record. Some schools provide a list of vaccines your children need to have. If not, here is a list of required immunizations, as well as an age-specific vaccine schedule. You may also want to consider getting updated on your own vaccines, so you don’t spread something potentially lethal to your kids, like whooping cough.

3. Establish a routine. Make sure your kids get the sleep they need by getting them in a good routine now. This schedule will not only give you some time to unwind at night—but will also ensure your kids receive all the health and cognitive benefits only a good night’s sleep can provide. If your kids don’t get the recommended number of hours, it could be detrimental to their mental and physical development.

4. Cook more meals together. Incorporating more family meals into a routine yields amazing benefits for your kids. Eating dinner with your kids regularly can improve their diet, boost their academic performance, and help them bond with you, among other benefits. If you lack imagination in the kitchen, countless options for healthy, family-friendly recipes are only an internet search away, or consider a meal kit delivery service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh for more culinary inspiration.

5. Make sure your kids get and/or stay active. If your kids spent the summer indoors glued to whatever glaring screen available, it’s time to make them ditch the video games for some real fun. Children and adolescents need at least an hour of physical activity a day. Exercise can protect your kids from developing cancer, obesity, anxiety, depression, and more. The fall is when a lot of kids’ sport seasons begin, so see if you can get your kids involved in a fun activity where they can make friends and get the physical activity they so desperately need!

6. Give them all the pep talks they need. Your kids might get nervous before their big day. It’s important that you mentally prepare them for the transition by talking them through it. The last thing you want is for them to feel like they’re alone in this experience. Encourage them to share their concerns and hopes about this exciting time, and let them know that their feelings are totally natural.

7. Let them spread their wings! When the big day arrives, it’s go time. Get your kids ready with a hearty breakfast and all those awesome new school materials you stocked up on. Arrive at the school at least ten minutes early, so they have time to find their classroom, get set up, and socialize with their peers before the bell rings.

It’s bittersweet. Of course, no parent likes saying goodbye, but as soon as your kids cross that school threshold, you can enjoy the fruits of your preparatory labor. With these seven tips, you’ll equip them for success when school is back in session.

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