By Mayo Clinic News Network

As kids return to school, take a look at some tips to get them off to a successful school year.

Get a good night’s sleep

Is a good night's sleep on your list of back-to-school essentials? Pediatric sleep expert with the Mayo Clinic Children's Center Suresh Kotagal, M.D., says getting enough sleep is critical to students' well-being and ability to learn.

Dr. Kotagal says an estimated 30 to 50 percent of children have trouble sleeping well, but a few healthy habits could help many of them sleep more soundly.

  • Don't drink caffeine after dinner.
  • Regular exercise leads to better sleep.
  • Turn off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime.
  • Silence phones so text or message alerts won't wake the child up.
  • Not allowing students to stay up too late on weekend nights will make Monday's early starts easier to deal with.

Get physicals, vaccinations, update medical records

With a new school year under way, parents and caregivers are no doubt going through the preparations list: school supplies, car pools, bus schedules - check. Mayo Clinic Children's Center says now's also the time to touch base with the school office to make sure administrators are aware of any special medical conditions, needs or allergies your child may have. In addition, Mayo Clinic pediatrician Robert Jacobson, M.D., urges every parent to check on their child’s medical record to make sure it's up to date and that all necessary vaccinations have been given.

Pack healthy lunches, snacks

Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian Diane Dressel offers parents snack options that meet caloric standards, while also taking into account portability, perishability, food allergies and dietary restrictions. Dressel says, “What better time to get kids into healthy eating patterns than at a young age?” and encourages any snack idea to include fruits or vegetables.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Grapes and pretzels
  • Apples and string cheese or baked chips
  • Carrots and fat-free dip
  • Yogurt with strawberries or blueberries

Source: http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/?s=school