The following health and safety tips are from the American
of Pediatrics (AAP). Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in their
entirety in any print or broadcast story, with acknowledgment of source.
MAKING THE FIRST DAY EASIER
child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the
first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make
an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
Point out the
positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun! She'll see old
friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous
years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high
spirits because she had a good time.
child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or
ride on the bus.
If you feel it
is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her
up on the first day.
a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier
items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh
more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain
your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may
be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that
rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and they may be
difficult to roll in snow.
TRAVELING TO AND FROM SCHOOL
Review the basic rules with your youngster:
If your child’s
school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts,
make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. If your
child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school
to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.
Wait for the bus
to stop before approaching it from the curb.
Do not move
around on the bus.
Check to see
that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street.
Make sure you
walk where you can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able
to see you, too).
should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access
to the bus or to the school building.
should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety
seat or booster seat.
should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and
then ride in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is ready for a
booster seat when she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her
seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have
reached the top of the seat.
should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's seat
belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in
height and is between 8 to 12 years of age). This means that the child is tall
enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the
knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the middle
of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and
snug across the thighs, and not the stomach.
younger than 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If
you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when
carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back
as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do
not fit properly without it.
many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school.
You should require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, and
do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations, texting or other mobile device use to
prevent driver distraction. Limit nighttime driving and driving in
inclement weather. Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver’s
license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver agreement to
facilitate the early driving learning process. For a sample parent-teen
driver agreement, see www.healthychildren.org/teendriver
Always wear a
bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
Ride on the
right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
lights and stop signs.
clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing is
especially important after dark.
"rules of the road."
Walking to School
Make sure your
child's walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing
guards at every intersection.
about your child's pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive
and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child
is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
If your children
are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them the first week or
until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.
Bright-colored clothing will make your child more
visible to drivers.
neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider organizing a
“walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of
neighborhood children walking to school.
EATING DURING THE SCHOOL DAY
regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home. With this advance
information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main
course is one your child prefers not to eat.
Try to get your
child's school to stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy
products, water and 100 percent fruit juice in the vending machines.
soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories.
Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child's risk of obesity by
60%. Restrict your child's soft drink consumption.
Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly.
Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the
playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or
through mobile devices like cell phones.
When Your Child Is Bullied
Help your child
learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:
1. Look the bully in the eye.
2. Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
3. Walk away.
Teach your child
how to say in a firm voice.
1. "I don't like what you are doing."
2. "Please do NOT talk to me like that."
3. "Why would you say that?"
Teach your child
when and how to ask for help.
child to make friends with other children.
activities that interest your child.
officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
Make sure an
adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child's safety
and well-being when you cannot be there.
child’s social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems
before they get out of hand.
When Your Child Is the Bully
Be sure your
child knows that bullying is never OK.
Set firm and
consistent limits on your child's aggressive behavior.
Be a positive
role mode. Show children they can get what they want without teasing,
threatening or hurting someone.
non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, counselors, and
parents of the children your child has bullied.
When Your Child Is a Bystander
your child not to cheer on or even quietly watch bullying.
your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying.
your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child
to include these children in activities.
your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.
BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL CHILD CARE
early and middle childhood, youngsters need supervision. A responsible
adult should be available to get them ready and off to school in the
morning and watch over them after school until you return home from work.
approaching adolescence (11- and 12-year-olds) should not come home to an
empty house in the afternoon unless they show unusual maturity for their
alternate adult supervision is not available, parents should make special
efforts to supervise their children from a distance. Children should have
a set time when they are expected to arrive at home and should check in
with a neighbor or with a parent by telephone.
you choose a commercial after-school program, inquire about the training
of the staff. There should be a high staff-to-child ratio, and the rooms
and the playground should be safe.
DEVELOPING GOOD HOMEWORK AND STUDY HABITS
an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a
permanent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is
quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.
ample time for homework.
a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.
Supervise computer and Internet use.
available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child's
homework for her.
steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while
studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch,
and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren't able to
help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your
child's teacher first.
Some children need help organizing their
homework. Checklists, timers, and
parental supervision can help overcome homework problems.
© 2013 - American Academy of