Healthy Back-to-School Tips

It’s back to school time for many kids in Northeast Arkansas. While parents may be feeling a mix of excitement and dread, we have some tips to help keep kids healthy as they head back to school.

  1. Set a firm bed time.

During the summer, many parents slack on a pre-sleep routine and firm bedtime. Before starting back to school, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests getting your kids to bed at a set time every evening. Children age 6 to 12 need 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night, while teens need around 8 to 10 hours a night.

Need help getting into a routine? Power off the devices and televisions. Reading a book or magazine can help kids relax. Also, try limiting your child’s caffeine intake after noon.

  1. Get your child a wellness exam.

Make sure your kiddo is in great shape by taking them to their primary care provider for a check-up. At this appointment, talk to the doctor about any concerns you may have about your child’s wellbeing, as well as any immunizations he or she might need.

  1. Engage with your child daily.

Depression and anxiety don’t just affect adults. When asking your children how their days went, get beyond the standard “fine.” Ask specific questions, like how your child likes a particular teacher or class, or if he or she made any new friends that day.

  1. Watch out for that heavy backpack

As kids get older, they carry more and more items in their backpacks, adding more and more weight to their shoulders and back.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following tips:

  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles. Wearing a backpack on one shoulder may increase curvature of the spine.
  • Tighten the straps so that the pack is close to the body. The straps should hold the pack two inches above the waist.
  • Pack light. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student’s total body weight.
  • Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
  • Stop often at school lockers, if possible. Do not carry all of the books needed for the day.
  • Bend using both knees, when you bend down. Do not bend over at the waist when wearing or lifting a heavy backpack.

Help make this year the best one yet for your child. If you are looking for a primary care provider for your child, please visit or call the St. Bernards Healthline at 870.207.7300.


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