Photo credit: Mary Taylor, pexels.com
In the next couple of weeks, the dreaded return to school is coming for your kids!! Getting ready for back to school involves a lot of planning and preparation, including buying new clothes, supplies, and backpacks. There can be a lot of high emotions in the house as the big day gets closer, as everyone rushes around trying to get everything ready and grieves the end of summer freedom.
It’s not surprising that returning to school can trigger some stress and anxiety in children. Back-to-school jitters and excitement can often be emotionally and physically taxing. On top of that, the effects of heavy backpacks and the return to high-impact sports can also put your child’s physical well-being at risk. Let’s talk about some important tips for maintaining your child’s health as they return to school this September.
Talk it Out
Set aside a few minutes each day in the week or so leading up to school to let your kids talk about how they are feeling. Sometimes just having the opportunity to be heard can make a huge difference. For any struggles that have them feeling anxious, it provides an opportunity to brainstorm some ideas for how to better handle it and how to be better prepared.
Being rushed in the morning when everyone is trying to get ready and get out the door is a common phenomenon in most households. Rushing out at the last minute often means things are bound to be forgotten or skipped. Laying out clothes and backpacks the night before can be a big help. Making breakfast ahead of time can also be a time saver in the mornings.
Summer often means kids are getting lots of time outside to run around and be active, while going back to school means sitting at a desk for several hours a day. Sedentary routines can be hard on the body. Back to school is a great time to implement an easy stretching routine. Stretching is essential for your child’s spinal health and posture. Taking short breaks to stand and stretch during the day can be super helpful (just make sure they are still listening to the teacher!!). Ensure that your child knows some basic stretches before heading back to school. Talk with them about the importance of warming up and stretching before any physical activity.
Backpacks are a Big Deal
Backpacks put a tremendous amount of stress on the body and spine. Choosing a good backpack, wearing it properly, and keeping it manageable are all important for avoiding injury. Backpacks that feature additional padding on the lower back area along with wide, padded ergonomic straps are the most supportive and most comfortable.
When loading the backpack, consider putting the heaviest items (like books or computers) closest to the body, with lighter and odd-shaped items furthest away. Keep in mind the backpack’s weight should not exceed 10-15% of the child’s body weight. Encourage your child to wear both shoulder straps to keep the backpack sitting snugly against the child’s back. If the backpack reaches down to your child’s backside, it is hanging too low.
A definite must have on your to-do list as you prepare for going back to school is to get your child adjusted. Staring off the school year with a properly aligned spine helps keep their body better able to handle the stresses and strains of backpacks, sedentary days, and after school sports. Additionally, in many children, concentration is easier if they aren’t fighting musculoskeletal pains or headaches. We’re here and ready to help make the transition back to school as smooth as possible for you and your kids!!
Dr. Michelle Drover