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 The mark of a new school is often anticipated with a mix of emotions for kids and parents alike, ranging from
exhilaration to anxiety. Kids are excited to wear their new clothes, see their classmates, and participate in extracurricular activities. Parents are proud to see their kids reach another milestone and look forward to exciting new experiences for their growing child. But the school year can bring about challenges as well that leave kids and parents anxious. So follow these tips to get your kids off to a good start and keep them on course.
 Kids need their Zs
Sufficient sleep is essential to proper brain function. When kids are deprived of sleep, it can interfere with their memory, attention, and ability to learn. Insufficient sleep can also adversely affect health. It contributes to type 2 diabetes in children and teens.
Mental health is also affected by sleep. Kids who don’t get enough quality sleep are at risk for mood swings, anxiety, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior.
Unfortunately, because teens’ circadian rhythm keeps them alert later at night, early school start times don’t help. But getting plenty of
sleep is crucial. (To be at their best, preschoolers typically need about 11 to 13 hours of sleep a night, kids up to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours, and teens need about 8.5 to 9.25 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.)
To help your kids fall asleep better, set a curfew and regular bedtime
for school nights accordingly. On weekends, kids want to stay up later. Just try not to let their weekend
sleep patterns veer too far from their weeknight routine. Otherwise, it’ll be a challenge to get them back on track. Also:
• Remove media from bedrooms at night.
• Set a curfew of 2-3 hours before bed for caffeine.
• Keep bedroom temperatures 3 degrees cooler at night than during the daytime.
• Make sure your kids have plenty of blankets.
• Have your child take a hot bath before bed.
• Let kids eat a snack before bed that won’t mess with their sleep. Choose snacks with high-fiber carbs and protein, such as cheese and fruit or whole-grain toast with peanut butter.
Balance is essential
During the school year, kids have
a lot on their plate. In addition to school, they have family, friends, homework, chores, extracurricular activities, and perhaps a part-time job.
But balance is essential to your child’s wellbeing. The reason such imbalance sometimes develops is that parents see other families involved in so many extracurricular activities. As a result, parents think they’re not doing their job if their kids aren’t always on the go. Because kids want to make their parents happy and proud of them, kids often don’t speak up when they feel overwhelmed.
Structured activities do provide valuable benefits to kids. Still, they need free time to play and socialize as well. When kids lack balance in their lives, it can cause them stress and interfere with their ability to sleep and optimal functioning. It can also affect their mental wellness.
30 alaska parent fall 2021
YEAR RIGHT By Kimberly Blaker

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