It’s been a great summer, but it’s time to get everyone back in the groove of classes, sports practice — and getting up early again. Here are some tips to help your kids make a healthy transition back to school.

1. Get bedtimes on track, and tidy up the sleep hygiene.

In the summer, when it’s light after 10 p.m., it’s easy for bedtimes to slip. But with early school wake-up calls coming, it’s key for children and teens to get to bed so they get enough quality sleep. Pediatricians recommend that children age 6 to 12 get 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night, and that teens get 8 to 10 hours a night.

Here are some tips to help children and teens get the sleep they need when they return to school.

  • Power off the devices.

  • Consider darkening shades. The clock says it’s bedtime, but it’s still light out. That can interfere with a child’s sleep. Darkening shades can block out distracting light and help your child drift off more easily.

  • Ease off caffeine. Your child or teen should stop drinking anything with caffeine, including sodas and energy drinks, after noon. That way, by bedtime, the stimulant will be out of their system.

2. Check your young student’s eyes.

Good vision is critical to children’s success in the classroom.   Some signs there could be issues,  can include:

  • Recurring headaches while reading or using digital devices

  • Sitting too close to a TV screen

  • Squinting when viewing things in the distance,  like a whiteboard or a ball in gym class

  • Losing place while reading, or slipping behind in reading ability

  • Poor concentration

If you have a child who wears glasses or contact already make sure their prescription is up to date.  Vision screening can be done at a child’s annual well-child exam.

3. Make sure backpacks fit well.

As schoolkids get older, they tend to carry heavier books. A load of books with a laptop can weigh as much as 30 pounds. That can spell shoulder, neck, and back strain for young people, and affect their posture.

Make sure your child’s backpack fits well, with padding on the shoulder straps that can be loosened and tightened to ensure a snug fit depending on the contents. Make sure the backpack is always worn with both straps over both shoulders, not one slung over one arm, which adds to the pressure on that arm.

Some parents are switching to rolling backpacks, which can definitely ease the load on young shoulders.

4.  Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

Most experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should never be skipped. It is also a great opportunity for your teen to get a healthy dose of essential nutrients such as calcium, fiber, and calcium. To get your kids ready for breakfast each morning, consider making their bedtimes a little earlier each night so they have enough time to eat breakfast and whenever possible, can enjoy it together as a family.

5.  Limit Liquid Calories

When it comes to building lifelong healthy habits, drinking 8 glasses of water is a must. Teens cannot replace water with juices or diet sodas! Water helps us stay hydrated and increases our metabolic rate which is important for weight loss. On the other hand, juices and diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that are toxic and directly affect our hormone levels. Sugary drinks are simply empty calories and devoid of nutrients!

Paying attention to the big (and little) issues that face your child heading back to school should help everyone in the family have a happier and healthier year.