Back to School Happy and Healthy

A too-heavy pack may easily be overlooked. But experts warn that too many schoolbooks can place a serious burden on your child's shoulders.

"My own daughter suffered from that one," says Gray. "We ended up having to take her to physical therapy for six weeks."

To ward off these problems, experts say that the weight or your child's book bags should be assessed periodically throughout the year. Your child should be able to lift them easily and put them on their backs. "If they appear to be struggling with the bag, it's probably too heavy," says Gray.

If the bag seems too weighty for your liking, talk to your child's teacher to see if they really need that many books. Talking to your child may help as well. They could be having problems with their lockers that leave them wary of returning too frequently to exchange books.

Homework

Although it may be less obvious, experts say that modeling is also important when it comes to getting your kids to do their homework with less resistance.

"If the dad or the mom is sitting there with the remote just surfing away and they're telling their child to do homework, that rationale does nothing for a 7- or 8-year-old," says Stavinoha.

Instead, Stavinoha suggests that mom and dad do their own "homework" and shut off the TV to pick up a book or pay some bills, "So that the child isn't set up to seem like there's something really fun happening in another part of the house while they are feeling punished because they've got to sit and do homework."

Making the transition from lazy summer days to the packed schedules of fall and spring can be less problematic. "It's all a matter of how you are communicating your values to your kids," Stavinoha adds.

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