Doctor advises establishing back-to-school routines


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – We are days away from the start of the new school year. Many families in our area make sure their children are prepared. Doctors are encouraging parents to establish their children’s back-to-school routine before day one.

Dr. Wes Stubblefield of the Alabama Department of Public Health says now is the time for parents to set their child’s bedtime routine for school.

“Children need to be well rested so they can thrive in school and learn,” Stubblefield said. “We don’t want our kids jumping straight to school and struggling because they’re sleepy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children ages 6 to 13 need at least nine hours of sleep per night and teens need at least eight. Stubblefield says that to get enough sleep, you need to create a good sleep environment with minimal distractions.

“If their phone is by their bed and it’s buzzing all night, they hear it whether they say so or not. It doesn’t let their brain go into these different sleep patterns, and that’s very very important,” Stubblefield said.

Nutrition is also essential. Experts say children need to eat a balanced diet and not skip breakfast.

“The problem is that your brain just doesn’t work very well when you’re hungry. Make sure they have the fuel they need for the day,” Stubblefield said.

He says whenever the family has the opportunity to eat together, you should.

“It’s been shown to be good for kids for a lot of reasons, possibly including weight control and then just socialization,” Stubblefield said.

Stubblefield encourages parents to incorporate a media plan into their child’s routine. Limiting screen time to a certain number of minutes per day can also help. Doctors say it’s important for children to get enough physical activity throughout the week.

Experts encourage experimenting with getting ready in the morning a few days before so you can change the schedule accordingly.

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