August is back-to-school time. After the relaxed schedule of summer, getting back into the school day routine can be rough for the whole family. Following are some health and safety tips to make the transition a little easier.

August is back-to-school time. After the relaxed schedule of summer, getting back into the school day routine can be rough for the whole family. Following are some health and safety tips to make the transition a little easier.

Make it a good first day. Many kids become anxious or nervous at the thought of a new school, teacher or classroom. You can help ease this anxiety by visiting the school a week or two before school starts. If you can, introduce your child to their new teacher, show them their classroom or just play on the playground to help them get comfortable in the new environment. Create some anticipation to get the kids excited about going back. Talk about seeing old friends and meeting new ones and all the things they love about school. Consider switching to the school sleep schedule a week before school starts to get them into the routine.

Choose the right backpack. Make sure to get one that has wide padded straps. When packing it, be sure not to fill it too heavy; it should not weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the child’s weight. Remind your children to use both straps rather than slinging it over one shoulder.

Take the kids to checkups. Students who play a sport will need a sports physical before school starts. And don’t forget to check your child’s eyes. Good vision is critical to children’s success in the classroom. Some signs that your child may be having vision issues include recurring headaches while reading or using digital devices; sitting too close to the TV; squinting when viewing things in the distance; losing their place while reading; slipping behind in reading ability; and poor concentration. Start planning school meals.

Start with a good breakfast. Numerous studies have shown that kids who eat a nutritious breakfast do better in school. Plan a breakfast with both protein and fiber to help kids not get hungry before lunch. Options include yogurt with fruit and granola; peanut butter and toast; or an egg sandwich on whole grain toast. Even if your child eats school lunch, you likely will pack a lunch sometimes. Have a plan so this can be done easily and healthfully. Don’t rely on packaged sweets, chips and a sandwich. Talk to your child about healthy foods they can pack for lunch. Buy appropriate containers and lunch boxes to accommodate fruits, vegetables or leftovers. Use MyPlate as your guide, making half their lunch fruits and vegetables and including whole grains, protein and dairy at each meal. Check with the school to see if you qualify for free or reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches.

Set a homework routine. Kids probably will need a “brain break” and snack after school. Encourage some outside play before they settle down to do homework. Set up a designated place for them to work that is quiet, well-lit and free from distractions. Decide when homework will be done (right after school, before dinner, after dinner), and stick to the schedule. If they have a lot of homework, let them take a break to refresh.

Get enough sleep. If your child is old enough to have a cell phone or other electronics, keep them out of the bedroom. Have them hand over devices at bedtime so they aren’t tempted to use them and won’t be disturbed by texts or notifications during the night. Keep the noise down in the house if family members have different bedtimes. Consider room-darkening shades to make sleep easier when it is still light out. Don’t give any caffeinated beverages after noon because caffeine takes several hours to clear the body. A consistent bedtime helps ensure adequate sleep. School-age children need 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night, and adolescents need 8 to 10 hours.

Start this school year off on the right foot and keep these healthy habits going all year long.