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Get Ready to Return to Class with Back-to-School Tips from Atrium Health Navicent

The long, lazy days of summer will soon give way to alarm clocks, lunch boxes and homework. Doctors at Atrium Health Navicent encourage parents to get a jump start on the transition from summer time to the school year by making sure their children are ready to get back into a routine. Here are some tips to help:

Vaccines and Booster Shots

If your children haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19, do so now. COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective at protecting against serious illness, and they’re offered free of charge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children ages 6 months and older, and adults get vaccinated. Everyone ages 5 and older should get a booster vaccination when eligible. The CDC’s booster tool can help determine the vaccine and booster schedule that’s right for your family.

It’s also recommended that parents and guardians use this opportunity to double-check that children aren’t overdue for their regularly scheduled well-visit, or for other vaccines or vaccine boosters.

Get into a Routine

School starting can mean readjusting an entire family’s morning routine, and that can be tough on children and adults. Now is the time to start getting children to bed at a reasonable time, and waking them up at a consistent time — even on the weekends. This will help adjust their routine.

Once school starts, settling into a homework routine is also important. If your child doesn’t have activities in the afternoon, build a quick snack break into the schedule followed by homework. By completing homework before dinner, children have a larger block of time to relax or play before going to bed which encourages a regular and more restful sleep schedule. Other ways to make school mornings less stressful include checking before bedtime that homework is completed and loaded in backpacks, school supplies are packed and ready, clothes are laid out and sports or band equipment is packed and ready to go.

A Healthy Start to the Day

Studies show that children learn better with full stomachs. Also, children who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier throughout the day. If your child isn’t eating breakfast and lunch at school, make sure to stock up on easy-to-pack lunches and healthy breakfasts ahead of time. Some recommendations include boiled eggs, fresh fruit, frozen whole-grain waffles, low-sugar granola bars, low-fat string cheese, pre-bagged servings of high-fiber cereal, smoothies, trail mix and yogurt.

For a beverage, pack water, milk or 100-percent fruit juice. After-school snacks should not include sugary drinks or energy drinks. Instead, encourage the whole family to drink plenty of water. Limit your child’s consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods. Ideas for healthy after-school snacks include carrots, apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, yogurt or oven-baked vegetable chips.

Children should also get plenty of exercise. When paired with a diet rich in lean protein, fruits and vegetables, staying active can help strengthen bones, decrease blood pressure, help with weight-management, increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety.

Addressing Anxiety and Worry

While some children may be excited to go back to school, for others, it can induce worry or anxiety. Make time to talk to your kids about how they are feeling. Ask questions like, “What are you excited about?” “Is there anything that you’reworried about or scared of?”

Many children continue to struggle with grief, anxiety and depression stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Talk to school professionals or teachers in advance if there’s something they should know your child has been dealing with.

Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s mental health. Treating problems at the beginning of the school year can prevent poor grades, antisocial behaviors or worsening states of mind.

“Healthy children are best able to learn and be successful during the school day,” said Dr. Yameika Head, director of Clinical Practice – Pediatrics for Atrium Health Navicent Medical Group. “Taking the time now to re-establish healthy routines can bring incredible benefits to the entire family all year.” If your child is struggling with their back-to-school habits, a pediatrician at Atrium Health Navicent can help. To find a doctor, visit and click “Find A Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit

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