2 Your Health: Back to school begins at home

In this Tuesday, July 11, 2017 photo, campers Gracie, left, leans toward Nugget during an activity at the Bay Area Rainbow Day Camp in El Cerrito, Calif. The camp caters to transgender and "gender fluid" children, aged 4-12, making it one of the only camps of its kind in the world open to preschoolers, experts say. Nugget's name tag also includes preferred pronouns. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Charleston, SC (WCBD)-Notebooks, erasers and crayons are probably on the to-do lists of many parents, but it’s important to pencil in ways to prepare kids from the inside out too.

One of the most important things parents can do for kids heading back to school is adjust their bedtime routine, according to Vaishali Flask, M.D. of Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

“It’s easier to make yourself wake up than it is to make yourself fall asleep; if you’re not tired, you’re not going to fall asleep,” said Dr. Flask. “What I would suggest to parents, is to slowly wake them up earlier to move them towards that school wake up time.”

Before kids head out the door, be sure they eat breakfast – even if it’s something small. Dr. Flask said a bit of protein, like yogurt, will keep them feeling fuller, longer.

“A lot of kids will get headaches or feel tired mid-morning if they don’t have something to eat,” said Dr. Flask. “We’ve also found it helps with their concentration if they have something for breakfast in the morning.”

For lunch, it’s best to pack a protein, like turkey or peanut butter, and fruits and vegetables. When it comes to a drink, steer clear of sugar.

“I don’t want the kids drinking any kind of juices or sports drinks or anything that has a lot of sugar in it; so we’re really looking for kids to be drinking milk or water with their lunches,” said Dr. Flask.

For children who bring a snack to school, Dr. Flask said fruits and vegetables are the way to go. She recommends avoiding crackers or pretzels because carbohydrate snacks aren’t as filling.

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