Parents Say First Day Of School Means New Routines At Home

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Parents all over Arkansas are packing lunches, filling backpacks and getting ready to send their kids on the bus to school.

Pediatrician Susan Averitt said going back to school is an adjustment for both parents and kids. She said the biggest change is in eating and sleeping habits for children.

"Most children need about 8-10 hours of sleep every night, so I recommend you determine what time your child needs to get up in the morning and then go back 8-10 hours from that time, and that's what time your child needs to go to bed," Dr. Averitt said.

She said breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and parents can't forget about lunch either. She said kids should start their day with proteins, fruits and vegetables. She said a multi-grain sandwich with milk, an apple and carrots would be an example of a well-rounded meal.

Averitt said the right diet and plenty of sleep is the key to get kids through the first week of school.

"Just like whenever you start anything new, that fatigue and tiredness wears off as you develop your routine," Dr. Averitt said.

Fayetteville parents Jennifer and Ryan Martin have four girls in first grade through tenth grade. They said they've learned tricks to make their mornings a little less hectic.

"We'll try to make all the sandwiches for the whole week tonight, and we'll freeze some so it's one less thing in the morning to try to do with them," Ryan Martin said.

They said the hardest part is getting their girls' sleep habits back into the routine of early to bed and early to rise. Jennifer said the girls would go to sleep around 10 p.m. on most summer nights, and not wake up until 8 a.m. or 9 a.m.

"During school though, we will get them to bed right around 8 or 8:30 p.m. because they'll get up at 6 in the morning, and the high schooler will get up earlier than that...she'll get up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. to get ready," Jennifer said.

Dr. Averitt said she recommends possibly having dinner earlier the first week of school, so kids can go to bed earlier and be ready to learn the next day.


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