Everything you need to know to prepare for back-to-school anxiety, lunches and sleep habits.
As summer winds down, it’s time to gear up for a healthy back-to-school season. Set the stage for a smooth transition back to school. Here are some practical tips to get you started.
Ensuring your child gets enough sleep is an important part of a healthy back-to-school routine. Quality sleep helps with concentration, mood and overall well-being. Aim for nine to 11 hours of quality sleep per night. Check out these tips for helping students adopt better sleep habits for back to school.
Support your child’s learning and development with scheduled meals and snacks. Breakfast kick starts their morning, while snacks and lunches nourish them throughout the day. Pack a water bottle to help them stay hydrated. Visit our healthy eating for children resource for tips on everything from promoting a positive relationship with food and making healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks in a hurry.
As with any public environment, school exposes children to various germs and viruses. Ensuring they are up to date on their vaccinations helps protect them and others. Specific immunizations are recommended for children prior to entering kindergarten as well as in grades six and nine. Help your child avoid the spread of illness by encouraging them to wash their hands regularly, teaching them to cover their coughs and sneezes and keeping them home when sick.
Prioritize dental, vision and hearing checks
Make sure your children are up to date on their regular health examinations such as dental, hearing and vision. Find information on child health screenings and how to access free vision, hearing and dental exams here.
Adding physical activity to your child’s routine sets them up for success. Activities like walking or biking to school, playing sports, dancing, swimming or helping around the house are great ways for your child to stay active. Set limits on screen time and promote outdoor play as much as possible for overall well-being.
Tips for drivers to protect kids walking or riding to school: While drivers need to watch for people of all ages walking and cycling throughout the year, the roads can be especially busy as kids return to school. Everybody has a part to play when it comes to keeping our kids safe on the roads. Read about driving tips to keep kids safe on their way to school and bike safety for children.
Make time for talking and connection
Going back to school can be a cause of anxiety or stress for children. Make it a point to encourage open communication and support your child to talk about their feelings and help them feel heard and understood. Integrate downtime into their routine where they can relax or focus on a special interest or hobby. Help your child cope with our tips on managing anxiety in children and youth.
Keep kids stay safe from bully behaviour online and at school
Is your child worried about heading back to class because they have to face a classroom bully again? We have advice on how to empower your child to speak up and how you can help prevent bullying.
Know when and how to access mental health support for your child
Learn which signs to watch for in your child that may indicate they are struggling with their mental health and quickly find resources and support to help them in our child and youth mental health web resource.
Tips for older youth and high school students
Overdose awareness and prevention: Good information helps youth make good choices. This is crucial when it comes to preventing drug overdoses, alcohol and substance use in youth. Read our overdose resources for schools and parents for clear information on talking to children about drugs, complete with video examples of how to start the conversation in a way that works. We also have a guide on how to talk to your loved one if you believe they may be using substances unsafely.
Tobacco, alcohol and substance use: Experimenting is a natural part of growing up. But when youth experiment with substances such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs it can have serious consequences. Get the facts on substance use in children, and youth tobacco and vape use and learn about youth substance use services.
Sexual health: Children need clear, consistent and non-judgmental information about their bodies, sexual reproduction and sexuality. But these can be tough topics to broach. We have a comprehensive guide written by public health experts to help you learn how to talk to your school aged child about sexual education, sexual identity and puberty.
Gender and sexual identity: Today’s children and youth are growing up in a society that is more aware and inclusive of diverse gender identities. It is important that we create safe and inclusive environments and relationships for children who have diverse gender identities and sexual orientations or expressions. We have expert advice to help parents and teachers provide your child with the language, concepts and acceptance they need to feel good about themselves and their orientations so they can develop healthily without shame or fear. For youth, we have tips from our health experts on coming out.
Healthy relationships: High school is commonly when youth experience their first romantic and dating relationships. Make sure your child has the knowledge and tools to form and negotiate healthy relationships that enhance their lives. We have advice from health professionals on how youth can talk about sex and sexuality with their partner and make sure they are ready, how to practice safer sex with information on birth control options and how to get tested for sexually transmitted infections.