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Tag Archive for: back to school

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Back to School: Back to Routine!

Due to vacations, sleepovers, and the unstructured nature of no school, daily routines are often disrupted over the summer months. A consistent daily routine for kids is critical to them learning responsibility, time management, and so they get a good sleep.  Therefore, in September it is important to re-establish what morning, after-school and bedtime time should look like.

Use our customizable free printable to help kids stay on track each day in the morning, after-school and before bed!  Be sure to review this with the kids before implementing, confirm the expectations, and get their commitment.  You’ll be well on your way to creating a less stressful and more organized home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more helpful tools for children and adults visit our Printable Resources Page.

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Back to School: Make Ahead School Lunches

Packing your child’s lunch can seem like a daunting, never ending task, but with a little prep work you can suffer short term pain for long term gain!  With just over 10 days left before the big day, try some of these tips and recipes care of The Organized Housewife for lunches and snacks you can make ahead and freeze, which can save you some early morning stress in September and beyond.

The Organized Housewife:  50+ Freezer friendly lunch box food ideas

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Back to School: OT’s Help Kids Succeed in the Classroom

As it’s back to school time we wanted to shed some light on the awesome work Occupational Therapists do to help children succeed in the school system.  From helping with IEP’s, to modifying the classroom environment, an Occupational Therapist can help to enhance the learning experience based on the individual needs of the child they are working with.  Learn more about how OT’s help kids in schools in the following care of the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists. 

OSOT:  How can I benefit from OT?  Succeed at School

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Back to School: Transition Planning for Children with Special Needs

No matter your age, whether you are starting school for the first time, returning to the same school, moving up to middle or high school, moving away to university or going back to school after years in the workforce, the words “Back to school” can bring on both excitement and anxiety.  Many feel excited for the opportunities and experiences that may come, however, many also feel frightened and anxious over what lies ahead.  For children with special needs any transition can be difficult, and parents and caregivers often find “back to school” one of the most difficult.

The following article published by Care.com discusses the some great strategies for helping plan for and make the transition of “back to school” as pleasant as possible for children with special needs.

Care.com:  Easing the Back-to-School Transition for Kids with Special Needs

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Back to School: How To Properly Select a Backpack

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Backpacks are a staple for every student. They travel back and forth between home and school, lugging books and school supplies. They are put through the unavoidable daily abuse of being thrown on the ground, trampled on, stuffed into a cubby or locker, saving a spot in line, and become over-stretched and over-used with the necessities of school. They are a necessary part of your child’s education, yet how much thought do you really put into the backpack your child wears aside from maybe price or color?  Have you considered the health implications of an improperly worn, fitted, or poorly supportive backpack?

Backpacks are meant to be worn over both shoulders so that the weight can be evenly distributed across some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. Due to this, backpacks are preferable to shoulder bags, however they must be worn properly in order to avoid postural issues and injuries to the back, shoulder, and/or neck. Additionally, backpacks that are too heavy or large increase a child’s risk of injury due to falling or tripping. The following are some simple tips to help ensure your child’s backpack is fitted properly in order to avoid any negative health implications.

First of all, when choosing a backpack look for the following features:

1.    Make sure the backpack is made of a lightweight material. Sure, some trendy materials may look cool, but these can also add unnecessary weight.

2.    The backpack should have two wide, padded shoulder straps that are adjustable. Thin, narrow straps can cut off circulation resulting in pain, tingling, and numbness.  Straps with a clip to secure them across the chest are best.

3.    Look for a padded back to increase comfort and also to protect your child from being poked by items inside the bag.

4.    Backpacks with a waist strap help distribute the weight more evenly and can protect the neck and shoulders from carrying the weight independently.

5.    Check out backpacks that have a roller option if allowed in your child’s school. This allows freedom to switch between wearing on the back (for example on snowy days when rolling is not practical) and rolling the bag on the ground to take stress off of the neck and shoulders.

6.    Ensure the backpack has multiple compartments as this helps to distribute the weight more evenly, and keeps things organized and separated.

Once you have found the perfect backpack, ensure the backpack is worn properly by following some of these general guidelines:

·        The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that backpack load should never exceed 10-20% of your child’s body weight. Make sure unnecessary items aren’t traveling back and forth – leave heavy items at home or school if possible.

·        When putting on a backpack, ensure your child bends at the knees (not the waist!) and uses both hands to lift it onto their shoulders. Watch for signs of strain or difficulty when putting it on – if any are present consider reducing the load in the bag by having your child carry a few items.

·        ALWAYS use both of the shoulder straps. No matter how “cool” your child thinks using one shoulder strap looks, it can cause muscle, spine and orthopedic injury down the road.

·        Tighten the shoulder straps and use the strap around the waist (if available). This helps to ensure even weight distribution. The bag should sit in the center of the back, about two inches above the waist (not down near the buttocks!).

·        When packing, ensure heavy items are near the center / back of the bag. Use all of the available compartments to help distribute the weight more evenly.

·        Talk to your child about making frequent trips to their locker, desk or cubby to avoid carrying extra weight around all day.

·        Consider the backpack as a possible culprit if your child starts complaining of back pain, numbness or tingling in the shoulders or arms, or discomfort in the upper body or lower back.  If so, consult with a professional about how to correct the issues, and prevent these from getting worse.  Core, back, or strengthening exercises might be needed if your child is having difficultly lugging around their school stuff – and consult a professional to have any exercises prescribed.

Then, make it fun!  Give your child a list of things to look for when picking out their backpack, and comment on the different features of the ones at the store.  Once purchased, load this up with different things so you can show them the difference when weight is distributed evenly, unevenly and gets too heavy.  Have them try the straps at different lengths so they can comment on what is most comfortable.  Encourage them to leave things at school that should stay there (like indoor shoes) and consider having a double set of school supplies at home so these don’t need to travel back and forth.  Make Friday “clean out your backpack day” for a special treat.

Remember that you get what you pay for.  A $10.00 backpack chosen on style or color may cost you a lot more in the long run.  Backpacks are not an item you should cheap out on!

For more informative articles on kids health check out our OT For Kids page and check out our OT-V Episode, Backpack Safety to learn more.

References:

1)      American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (2013).
2)      KidsHealth (2013)
3)      American Academy of Pediatrics (2014)

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Resources to Get Back to Routine

Summer vacation is officially over and the kids are back to school!  Due to vacations, sleepovers, and the unstructured nature of no school, daily routines are often disrupted over the summer months. A consistent daily routine for kids is critical to them learning responsibility, time management, and so they get a good sleep.  Therefore in September it is important to re-establish what morning, after-school and bedtime time should look like.

In our house we have each of our girls “daily routines” typed, laminated and posted in the back hall. Though each are slightly different, they include:

Morning: 

  • wake up at 7:00 am
  • make beds
  • get dressed
  • eat a healthy breakfast
  • brush teeth and hair
  • pack lunch and backpack
  • out the door by 7:40


After-School: 

  • shoes and back-packs away
  • lunch boxes emptied
  • dry snacks and water bottle packed for the next day
  • paperwork from school in the “in box”
  • have a healthy snack
  • do any homework
  • then play (no technology)!


Before Bed:  

  • dinner dishes put away
  • play areas and bedroom are tidy
  • shower
  • healthy bedtime snack
  • reading time
  • lights out at 9:00 pm

Use our great free printable that you can customize for your kids to help them stay on track each day in the morning, after-school and before bed!  Be sure to review this with the kids before implementing, confirm the expectations, and get their commitment.  You’ll be well on your way to creating a less stressful and more organized home!  

Check out more of our FREE printables available on our website!

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Is Stress Affecting Your Kids?

Hockey tryouts, swimming lessons, dance classes, music lessons, and don’t forget about school.  That’s right… it’s September!  Previously on our blog we coined the term “Stress-tember” –  as September is second only to December on the list of the most stressful months of the year.  Why?  Change, adjustment, new routines and… it’s busy!  While it’s important to have kids involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, sometimes they can become over-scheduled which can cause stress.  Check out the following from WebMd to help you recognize the signs of stress in children and take a look at our previous post “Are Our Kids too Busy?” to help you create a good balance.

WebMD:  10 Reasons Your Child Might Be Stressed

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Make Life Easier With Make Ahead School Lunches

School starts next week and although many welcome the return of routine, packing a healthy lunch that won’t come home uneaten remains an ongoing parental challenge. It’s true–packing your child’s lunch can seem like a daunting, never ending task, but with a little prep work you can suffer short term pain for long term gain!  The following from Once a Month Meals shares great healthy lunch recipes to make ahead, freeze and pack all month long.

Once A Month Meals:  31 Back to School Freezer Meals