Coaching your child to a successful school year

Dr. Erik L. Johnson
Amita Health
Posted8/13/2017 7:30 AM
  • Parents can coach their kids to help them navigate through the school year.

    Parents can coach their kids to help them navigate through the school year. Thinkstock photo

  • Dr. Erik L. Johnson

    Dr. Erik L. Johnson

Back to school means back to routine for everyone, and for parents that can be a real challenge for their children after a summer filled with sleeping in, later hours and nonstop fun.

Getting children in the mindset for returning to the classroom starts long before the first school bell. Here are a few recommendations to help.

Discuss expectations

Begin the school year with a family meeting to establish a playbook for a successful year.

Everyone needs to understand their "job" in the family.

For your child, the job is going to school and learning. Consider privileges like screen time, weekend sleepovers, or other activities as a reward for your child for following the plan.

Your job is to be their coach to help them navigate the school year and cheer them on when they succeed. Let them come up with strategies, ideas, consequences and rewards.

A big part of a successful school year is everyone getting out of the house on time.

The first page in your playbook should be to avoid running around at the last minute, yelling from the sidelines for everyone to get dressed and hurry-up.

You don't want to start your day stressed, so coach your kids to be ready to go.

Avoid morning madness

A good morning starts the night before.

To make an effective plan, start backward to determine the time your child needs to sleep and set a bedtime.

Now you know how much time you have left to prepare for the day ahead. Run through your pregame checklist as part of your cool down before bedtime.

• Homework done (before screen time)

• Clothes laid out

• Lunch made

• Permission slips signed

• Grab-and-go nutritious foods if you have a kid that does not like to eat first thing in the morning (yogurt, breakfast bar or PB&J)

Good Night Moon

To avoid starting the day off on the wrong side of the bed, make sure that your kids are getting enough sleep.

School-age children usually require 9 -11 hours and teens ages 14-17 need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night to feel rested and ready to go.

To get a kids ready to sleep make sure to:

• Stick to a bedtime

• Limit caffeine (soda, coffee and chocolate)

• Turn of all electronics at least one hour before bed time

• Open a window -- cool air promotes sleep

Coaches corner

You've got this mom and dad!

Just remember:

• Consistency -- Once rules and consequences are agreed upon, stick to it.

• Vigilance -- Don't let your guard down. When things are going great you may have a tendency to take your eye off the ball. Don't!

• Children's health is a continuing series. This week's article is courtesy of Dr. Erik L. Johnson, who is a pediatrician with the Amita Health Medical Care Group, a more than 500-member employed provider group in 138 locations across the western and northwestern Chicago area. Amita Health is comprised of nine acute and specialty care hospitals, including Amita Health Alexian Brothers Women and Children's Hospital Hoffman Estates. For more information on pediatric programs, visit

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