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Back-to-School Tips for Wyo. Parents, Children

Mid-August means summer vacation must soon make way for early mornings, classrooms and homework. (Pixabay)
Mid-August means summer vacation must soon make way for early mornings, classrooms and homework. (Pixabay)
August 15, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Mid-August means late nights and lazy mornings – and endless hours playing Pokemon. But all that must soon make way for early mornings, classrooms and homework.

Stephanie Marcy, a psychologist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, says back-to-school doesn't have to sound like the end of the world if parents follow a few basic steps.

Establishing a new sleep cycle can take up to a week, she points out, so start setting bedtimes and alarm clocks well before that first day of school.

"So, parents really need to pay attention to the fact that they have to get their kids an appropriate amount of sleep,” she says. “And in order to do that, they need to go to bed early enough so that when they wake up for school, they've gotten at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep."

Not getting enough sleep increases the risk for depression and a compromised immune system, she says. And because video screens, like sunlight, keep you awake, Marcy recommends turning off all devices an hour before bedtime and picking up an old-fashioned book instead.

Other tips include staking out your child's route to school to make sure he or she is using sidewalks, crosswalks and stoplights.

And Marcy adds parents should remind children to put cell phones away and pay attention to where they're going.

Transitioning to a new routine can be stressful, so she urges adults to ask children what they're worried about – then really listen, and let them know you're there to help.

"The parent may not know specifically that their child has been bullied,” she explains. “But if their child seems extremely anxious about going back to school, that may be a sign that there's something going on at school that is beyond the typical back-to-school jitters."

Marcy says parents can also emphasize positive aspects, such as meeting people from different backgrounds and making new friends.

She adds encourage children to be kind, and to ask other children questions about themselves, which can help make the transition into a new school year easier for everyone.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY