Get back into the school routine

by Katelin Whiddon

The 2017-2018 school year is already off to a start! Summer is a great time to enjoy some freedom and vacations, but I always like getting back into routines as well. While it may be tough when the school year starts, children typically thrive better with a consistent routine.


We all know that adequate sleep is important for children’s physical and mental health. Be sure you set a good bedtime routine for children to help them fall asleep faster. Avoid electronics (tablets, television, video games) in the bedroom as they can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following amount of sleep for children:

1- to 2-year-olds: 11-14 hours of sleep (including naps)
3- to 5-year-olds: 10-13 hours of sleep (including naps)
6- to12-year-olds: 9-12 hours of sleep
13- to 18-year-olds: 8-10 hours of sleep


Homework is another component of the school year that children and parents may have mixed feelings about. There are a variety of ways that we can make homework time less of a struggle.

Finding a designated area in the home for homework may be helpful. This area should be away from as many distractions as possible and quiet.

Try to make homework a positive experience for your children. If they see us gripe about homework, they will naturally find it to be a negative experience as well.

Try to find the time that works best for your child to complete their homework. While some children do better right after school, others need a bit of a break before sitting down for homework. Some children prefer to sit by themselves to do their homework, while younger children may want their parents nearby. If your child prefers you to sit with them, try not to do their homework for them. Allow them to think for themselves and offer encouragement when needed. Children will feel more proud when they know they did their own work.


As a nurse practitioner in a pediatric clinic, I not only have to preach this but practice it as well. Most schools are great about having kids wash or use hand sanitizer before and after lunch. They also remind children to wash after using the bathroom. I’m thankful my girls want to pick out several hand sanitizers and stick them on their backpacks because keeping their hands clean means keeping them from being sick.

Remind your children to wash their hands and to refrain from sharing food/drink/lip balm with other kids to keep them healthy this school year.

We are so blessed with great schools in the 501. Our teachers love our kids and want nothing but the best for them. Do all that you can at home to mold your children to be respectful and eager to learn. Encourage them to look for ways to help and care for others.

Have a great school year, 501! 


A Conway native, Katelin Whiddon is a nurse practitioner at the Conway wound clinic for Arkansas Heart Hospital. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A University of Central Arkansas graduate, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and works in pediatrics.