Back to school: Best practices for your child as they head to school

GREAT FALLS- The secret meal to success for your child, is there such a thing?

Dr. Rachel Amthor a pediatrician at Benefis Health System says it's good to have something in your stomach before school including a protein or carb. Food items like yogurt or peanut butter toast are a solid choice to help kick start your child's day. 

Amthor adds, it’s good to have your kids on a consistent eating and sleeping schedule. 

"When kids get home for dinner, their carb should be the size of their fist and their meat or protein should be about the size of their fist, and should have a vegetable," says Amthor.

Doctors say kids should be having milk or water with their meals. When it comes to appetite in general, every child is different. For example, if your child has ADHD, their sleep and appetite schedule may be different. If that's the case, or you notice your child having abnormal patterns- talk to your doctor. 

Back to school also means early bedtimes for your children. Doctors say they have a few hacks to get their sleep schedule back on track. 

Doctors say do things the old fashion. Studies show the best way to settle your kids down is by reading to them. 

Doctors say besides that, have a mandatory early bedtime every night. 

A recent study shows children age 5 to 10 need 11 hours of sleep and adolescents age 10 to 17 need 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep every night. 

If you don't keep bedtime consistent, your kids can get tired and lose focus at school. 

"Screen time affects the kids quality time of sleep, and how easily they can fall asleep,” says Amthor.

Doctors say if your kids are watching television before bed, their eyes won't be adjusting to the dark. That means no screen time before bedtime and make sure they're only watching one to two hours a day. Not all electronics are hands-off- parents you can put an audiobook on or play music. 

But, when it comes to waking up, have an old school alarm clock instead of an alarm on your phone. That way your kids aren’t tempted to be on their phones throughout the night.

Parents should also keep their kids eating and sleeping routine normal throughout the entire week because it will help them wake up during school days. Doctors say do activities in the morning on the weekends so they don't have an option to sleep in. 

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