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Tips For Parents: Back-To-School

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – What should be on parents’ checklists to maintain your kids’ health, safety and overall well being this upcoming semester? 



Back-to-school – the time for students to learn, make amazing memories and have experiences that should prepare them for a lifetime of success.  But what should be on parents’ checklists to maintain your kids’ health, safety and overall well being this upcoming semester? 

Create a Routine 

Establishing a routine is vital to the mental and physical health of a child, according to Family Medical Specialist Dr. Yasmin Williams-Robinson. She says the following practices should be a part of the school preparation routine:

  • Create bedtime schedule.
  • Pre-plan for the next day (e.g preparing lunches, choosing clothing/books).
  • Allow kids to participate in the preparation process.
  • Allow kids ownership and encourage independence in the routine.

Dr. Robinson says these practices can foster discipline, peaceful mornings and create a sense of safety in kids.

Create Healthy Balanced Diets 

A healthy balanced diet supports brain development, boosts immunity, and helps the digestive system function, among other things, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, with so many breakfast, snack, and lunch items available at your fingertips, it can be difficult to choose the best options. Dr. Williams-Robinson advises creating meals that are high in nutritional value. 

She says oatmeal with fruits or tuna and grits with a serving of fruit are examples of healthy balanced breakfasts. But! Be sure to switch up the menu to keep the kids interested. 

As for beverages, drinks like gatorade and large servings of juice are not advised. Rather, aim for water (especially as temperatures continue to rise) and very small servings of juice although not necessary. 

For the children who don’t normally like breakfast, a smoothie with fruits and vegetables should do the trick.

Lunch and dinner should also consist of a balanced meal while being sure not to overfeed your kids.

Overall, children should be given healthy meals, especially before tackling the school day as this sets the precedent for the day.

Schedule Regular Doctor Visits

A healthy body helps to control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing many other adverse health conditions.

Consistent doctor visits can alert parents and doctors to the medical status of their kids which is vitally important for preventative measures. 

Dr. Williams-Robinson says regular visits also establish healthy relationships between kids and their doctors.

She also encourages allowing teens time to speak with their doctor confidentially (after the parents involvement of course) as they may not be comfortable asking parents certain questions. Depending on the information given, parents may still need to be informed.

It is also crucial to alert the relevant teachers & your child of any aliments/allergies, and medication your child might need. This is extremely important for kids with severe allergies.

Dr. Williams-Robinson also urges parents to teach kids with severe allergies how to use EpiPens as independence can play a role in this life or death scenario.

Keep your kids on the road to good health with these tips:

  • Teach kids not to accept medication from unauthorized personnel. 
  • Send a note to the child/inform the proper authorities of the child’s allergies/ailments
  • Have mental, spiritual, and physical (depending on age) check-ins with your child often & encourage the child to speak up.
  • Encourage your child to engage in healthy physical activities, eg, tennis, volleyball, swimming, etc.

Teach Good Hygiene Practices

Good cleanliness habits can keep diseases away. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of maintaining healthy habits. Here are a few hygiene suggestions for your kids as they return to school. 

  • Ensure the child is bathed and well groomed.
  • Teach kids good eating, grooming, & bathroom manners. 
  • Pack grooming supplies for freshening up throughout the day.
  • Teach your child the importance of keeping their surroundings clean. 
  • Remind kids not to share snacks and utensils (noting some kids have allergies).
  • Schedule regular orthodontics, optometrist and doctor visits for upkeep.

Bathrooms are known to harbor high levels of bacteria and diseases. Dr. Williams-Robinson encourages equipping kids with hand sanitizer for optimal protection as young children may face difficulty washing hands effectively. 

Also, to avoid bathroom accidents in small boys, she advises ensuring they are able to remove their belts on their own. This can also be achieved by opting for kid-friendly belts. 

In addition, Dr. Williams-Robinson says avoid sending children to school if they are sick. This prevents the illness from spreading throughout the classroom. Doing so also allows the child to rest so their body so they can properly recover.

She says in the case of fevers, the child should be fully recovered for at least 24 hours without needing medication before being sent back to school, while noting coughs can linger for a few days.

With these tips, along with your doctors advise, your child should have an increased chance of overcoming their ailments.

Don’t Forget Mental Check-Ins

Mental health matters and it can be difficult for kids to focus on schoolwork with a troubled mind. Encourage your kids to stay in tune with their mental health by following these tips:

  • Teach kids the signs of bullying and abuse. Inform them of the proper way to report it and heal from it. This can be done through educational videos and books.
  • Normalise and encourage seeking therapy or counseling from authorized personnel.
  • Have mental & spiritual check-ins with your child often.
  • Encourage children to speak up if feeling unwell mentally or spiritually.
  • Encourage activities that relieve stress eg. reading, exercise, painting etc.

Mental health is often times overlooked, one expressed emotion can often be a cover-up for another, e.g. anger for anxiousness. Keeping up with your child’s activities and interactions through gentle conversation should help you both with navigating their emotions, thus, creating a better mental space.

No More “Stranger Danger

Stranger danger can come in many forms such as perpetrators calling kids away from safe locations by enticing them with items, pretending to know them, or outright abduction. Whatever the reason, children should know to never take things from or follow strangers. Royal Bahamas Police Force Officer Cpl. Denniece Charlton says you can help to keep them safe with these instructions. 

  • Teach kids to be aware of surroundings.
  • Accompany children to the bus and school.
  • Assign older siblings or responsible adults to accompany your children, if needed.
  • Properly inform kids what to do and not to do when catching a bus or when walking to school. Eg. Not talking to strangers, not taking rides with strangers. 

Do remind your child, however, that they can speak to strangers in the presence of their guardians as advised by

It’s unlikely that kids can avoid strangers all the time, but being aware of inappropriate and sketchy phrases and actions should help them in their decision making.

Corporal Denniece Charlton says kids should also be aware of these pointers:

  • Do not speak to adults or strangers who ask you to keep secrets.
  • Do not give personal information about yourself or anyone to strangers, including social media usernames.
  • Do not take rides with people you do not know.
  • If someone is harassing you, run to the nearest public shop, restaurant, etc. and seek help.
  • Do not speak to people even if they identify themselves as a family friend.
  • If you are not comfortable speaking at home about events that take place, speak up to a teacher, guidance counselor or any administrator.
  • Refrain from speaking to strangers on social media. Predators target young children posing as children their age group with hopes to get them alone.

Even with the points mentioned, children may still find themselves in a perpetrators grasp. Corporal Denniece Charlton says kids should try these recommendations if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

  • Project your voice and let the person know you are not interested. 
  • Do not be afraid to scream no matter what is being said to you. If someone is holding onto your hand or bag, screaming can turn them away.
  • Walk or run away.

There are countless ways in which children need protection from predators, using these recommendations would be a great way to start.

Welcome To The New School Semester

To conclude, getting kids back in school properly equipped with the knowledge and supplies they need can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Following these tips should assist with the back-to-school-transition for parents, teachers, and children. 

Remember, in many cases, the standard set at home is what your child will replicate on the outside world. The better equipped children are for school, the better their chances of having a successful school semester.