MISSOULA — It’s nearly back to school time across Western Montana, so we talked with a local doctor about how to get ready for school – and how to stay healthy once classes start back up.
“Get in some routines so that there’s kind of a predictable pattern of expectation, and what’s going to happen,” advised Dr. Blair Davison with St. Patirck Hospital.
She added that if your kids sleeping schedule changed over the summer, now is the time to get back on track.
“Tired kids don’t handle stress well, tired people don’t handle well, and that can make for some stressful first days and weeks of school,” Dr. Davison explained. “So really important to get that routine in place.”
She also recommends that if school is going to change your child’s sleeping schedule, to start going to bed and waking up at that time two weeks before they actually go back.
“Particularly out here in Western Montana, it’s hard to get to sleep, early enough to have that early wake up not be a harsh reality.”
Dr. Davison also says kids should have travel plans for getting to and from the bus -- and young kids should have a code word, in case they need to be picked up by someone other than a parent or guardian.
“School is one of the safest places for children to be. There are lots of kids going to school every day -- all across the country -- and school continues to be a safe and good environment,” Dr. Davison said.
She advises that if you have young kids, it may also help to bring them by the school building, explain what the change will be like, and talk to them about your memories from school.
Dr. Davison also recommends limiting screen time, eating breakfast, and setting out clothes the night before.