Starting back to school is an exciting and often stressful time of the year for parents and children. What can you do to help you child adjust to the structure of the school day after the freedom of the summer? Dr. William Sears is a nationally known author and considered "America's Pediatrician." He is also the parenting consultant for' 'BabyTalk and Parenting magazines. Recently, "Dr. Bill", as he is fondly called, offered tips and advice to LoveToKnow on starting the new school year.
About Dr. Sears
LoveToKnow (LTK): Please tell us about yourself.
William Sears (WS): My name is Dr. William Sears, and I am an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Royal College of Pediatricians. I have more than 40 books on childcare, and I currently practice with my wife, who is a nurse, and my two sons.
LTK: Why did you decide to specialize in pediatrics?
WS: I decided to specialize in pediatrics as the care we receive as children has a significant effect on our health later in life. The fact that I am a father and grandfather also furthers this desire!
Starting Back to School
LTK: What do you think is the toughest part of starting back to school at the end of the summer for parents and kids?
WS: I think the toughest part of going back to school (for parents and kids) is getting into a daily routine, which can be difficult after a summer's worth of flexibility.
LTK: What are some common problems kids encounter at the beginning of a new school year?
WS: Nervousness about returning to school can cause a lot of stomach problems for children, due to the way they harvest stress. This can lead to common problems like lack of sleep, constipation and fatigue. Parents also need to watch out for lactose intolerance and food allergies.
LTK: What can parents do to make the transition from summer to school a bit easier?
WS: Communication is the key to every successful relationship, particularly with our children - so make sure your child knows to inform you about any health issues he or she is having. In addition, a fun way to keep kids healthy during the school year is packing healthy snacks in their backpack, but see if you can make them cool shapes that they would appreciate.
LTK: How can parents help kids stay on track throughout the entire school year?
WS: Throughout the school year kids tend to be more stressed and are exposed to a lot of new germs on a daily basis. In order to keep them healthy, I recommend kids take a daily dose of probiotics such as Culturelle for Kids. It is clinically proven to boost their immune systems and can ease digestive issues. Just mix the powder packet into any cold food or drink. I particularly like this product as it is dairy and gluten-free.
LTK: What other advice would you like to offer our readers?
WS: Relax. Particularly when your child is younger, he/she will become set in his/her ideas on just about everything - including the way food is prepared. Expect food fixations. If the peanut butter must be on top of the jelly and you put the jelly on top of the peanut butter, be prepared for a protest. It is a passing stage.
Also, get children to eat veggies or fruits early! A way to have some family fun and incorporate this into our children's diet is planting a family garden. Garden-growing gives children a sense of responsibility, the pride of ownership, and they learn valuable lessons about how sun, water, seeds, and soil come together to make food. They are also more likely to eat the veggies and fruits that they see as their own creation.
LTK: Where can we read more about you and your work?
WS: Reader's can visit my website Ask Dr. Sears for more information, as well as pick-up a copy of my latest book, Prime-Time Health.
We thank Dr. Sears for his time and his valuable advice to our readers for going back to school!