Back to School Tips

SSRI’s and the Teen Brain
July 28, 2019

It’s that time of year again…….Back to School!

With summer time comes more play time, vacation, travel, longer days, more sweets and treats, and changes in routine.   Now that summer time is winding down, it’s time to start getting your child ready to transition back into their school routine.  Here are a few helpful tips to make this transition back to school a little easier.



Sleep Schedule Maintenance:


It’s common for kids to stay up later and lose their bedtime routines over summer time.  Now that school is approaching, it’s time to start resetting those healthy sleep habits.  If your bedtime routines have gone out the window during summer time, start to reestablish those routines now.  Bedtime routines are helping for calming your child and telling their brains that it’s time for bed.  These routines can include bath time, reading, small protein snacks, listening to calming music, saying good nights, etc.  Whatever you choose for your bedtime routine, consistency is the key.  



With school starting, that means earlier wake up times for your kids.  Establishing and maintaining a regular bedtime is vital for helping to ensure your kiddo gets enough sleep.   If your child has been staying up later over the summer time, start to gradually push up bedtime by small increments to ease the transition to an earlier time.  Once you have found that magic bedtime, (that allows your child the right amount of sleep that they need for their age) the next step is keeping that bedtime consistent.  Maintaining regular sleep and wake times is vital for regulating healthy circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.  This even includes consistency over the weekends.



Decrease Screen Time:


Due to travel and more free time, children often increase their electronic screen time over the summer.  This electronic use should be limited again now that school is starting.  Prolonged screen time can lead to attention problems, learning difficulties, mood issues, and sleep dysregulation in children.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to one hour or less for children under 5 years of age, and setting strict time limits for older children and teenagers.    



Nutrition is Key:


Start your child’s day off right with a good solid breakfast.   You’ve heard the saying for years “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  Well it’s true, especially for a growing body and brain.  Eating a healthy breakfast will give your children the fuel they need to start their day.  A well-balanced breakfast will help balance their blood sugar levels which will prevent fatigue, mood swings, and attention problems.  Eating in the morning also helps to stimulate metabolism, which will help keep your child’s weight in check and decrease his risk of obesity.



What you feed your child in the morning is also very important.  Doughnuts and pastries will NOT set your child’s day off on the best foot.  A healthy breakfast consists of high protein foods, healthy fats, whole foods full of vitamins and minerals, and foods low in sugar.  These foods will give your child’s brain the nutrients and fuel it needs to focus, learn new information, regulate mood and behavior, and stay on task.  Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast before school tend to have better academic performance and behavior than children who do not.