Writer / Dr. Akaber Elkhamra, Riley Children’s Health Pediatrician at IU Health West Hospital
The 2022-2023 school year has just started. You are just getting over the enormous effort you put into getting your kids ready for this school year. Here are a few things to keep in mind for a successful school year:
- Sleep and schedules: Do your best to establish healthy routines, the same bedtime, and the same wake-up time to help your child do better in school, even on the weekends. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides general guidelines for total hours of sleep a child needs within 24 hours, including naps. For example, 6- to 12-year-olds need between nine and 12 hours of sleep, while 13- to 18-year-olds need between eight and 10 hours. Children who sleep well tend to behave well and do better in school.
- Homework time: Set a daily time for your child to finish homework. It will be a lot easier to spend 10 minutes daily over five days than to spend close to an hour in one evening in order to finish all work needed for the week. Have a quiet area in the house to finish homework, away from distractions.
- Establish household rules about screens and TV time: Set priorities for your family. Carve out time for meals, talk about your day, and have time for homework and extracurricular activities. Daily exercise will help your children sleep better. If you have time left over, you may allow screen time, which should be no more than one hour daily, and that includes screen time to finish work. Spending time as a family, whether it is during mealtimes, doing chores or folding laundry, creates strong bonds and opportunities for conversations and discussions.
- Teacher time: Touch base with your child’s teacher on a regular basis. Monitor grades and homework completion. Take action during the first quarter of the year – don’t wait!
Finally, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for being a parent. Parenting is not easy. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Build on progress and good habits. If your child is struggling, reach out to your pediatrician. We are always happy to help. Cheers to another successful school year!