NORFOLK -- Going back to school is stressful at any age. It can be particularly hard after summer vacation schedules.

Getting back on a school schedule can be a bit easier if you prepare for it. Here are some tips for making the transition from summer to school.

Tip 1: Rest
Adequate rest is one of the most important building blocks of a successful school year.
Start by setting an earlier bedtime a week or more before the start of school.
Don't skimp on sleep. School-age children need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep every night; toddlers and preschoolers may need as many as 13 hours of sleep every day plus a two- to three-hour nap.
Once bedtime is established, set an appropriate rising time in the morning.
Give your child plenty of time to wake up, eat, dress and prepare for the day.
Middle, high school and college students may not need strict bedtimes, but adequate rest will assist them as well with focusing in and out of the classroom.

Tip 2: Nutrition
Adequate nutrition fuels the brain and keeps your energy level high during the day.
Get everyone up in time for a good breakfast. A nutritious breakfast will improve academic performance and behavior in school. Pack a nutritious lunch or make sure your child has enough money to purchase lunch at school. Don't forget about proper hydration. Energy levels and brain activity are severely diminished if a body is dehydrated. Sodas and even fruit juice are full of sugar and empty calories. Get them in the water habit now, and they'll thank you later.

Tip 3: Health
Back to school physicals are required in many instances but also very important.
It is always a good time to review your child's health and a great opportunity to address health issues or concerns noticed by the parent during summer activities.
Reviewing your child's and your family's medical history with your medical provider during a back-to-school physical is important for detecting patterns of disease and chronic illness that run in your family.
For older students, adolescents and college students it's a good opportunity to address and identify health concerns.
Physicians can then more easily monitor your child's overall wellness with annual examinations and tests including blood tests to screen for such problems as high cholesterol levels diabetes and lead poisoning.

Tip 4: Each school year is a clean slate for your child.
Don't bring up negative things that happened last year.
If you are cheerful and confident about the coming year, your child will be, too.

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