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Back to School Tips

In the shadow of corona, specialists at Schneider Children’s offer tips to parents in anticipation of the new academic year: how to readjust children’s habits to a new daily routine, instructing them about road safety and what foods are best to take to school
Date: 27.08.20 | Update: 27.08.20


Deganit Ben-Nissan, chief psychologist in the Institute for Child Development and Rehabilitation at Schneider Children’s, notes that because of the corona pandemic, the coming school year will be opening with uncertainty, and parents will need to play an important role in acclimatizing to a new reality in the realm of education. Children must be informed about the expected changes in the method of teaching, in society, in comunication with the teaching staff which requires a different kind of flexibility and accessibility than in the past. Many children change their daily habits and routines during the summer vacation, and this year in particular. Towards the end of vacation, the child should gradually return to normal sleeping hours. Activities such as purchasing equipment and organizing the schoolbag help the child to process the transition from holiday to study, while preparing him emotionally for the return to school. Preparations for school should be done jointly signaling the end of vacation and back to school.

Dr. Ron Berant, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Schneider Children’s, says that many children are injured on their way to and from school. Therefore, children under the age of 9 must be accompanied when crossing the road and ensure they stop at the edge of the sidewalk, look properly in both directions before crossing and only then cross the road. Children should also be instructed not to cross the road between parked cars or behind a bus, and not to play with a ball near the street. Schoolbags should not be too heavy and not weigh more than 15% of the child’s weight. During the first weeks of school, special care must be taken to ensure that the child is well-protected from the sun, and drinks sufficiently to avoid dehydration.


Dafna Ziv Busani, Director of the Nutrition and Dietary Unit at Schneider Children’s, recommends focusing on nutrition prior to the return to school:

  • Breakfast is an important and essential meal for children, which improves their ability to concentrate and promotes greater alertness throughout the school day. It is best to eat a sandwich or a bowl of non-sweetened breakfast cereal with milk. If in a hurry, a bag with sliced fruit and a yoghurt can be eaten along the way, or to have a breakfast drink.

  • It is preferable for children to eat breakfast and a 10 o'clock snack prepared at home rather than getting the child into the habit of buying something.

  • It is highly recommended to prepare a “sandwich schedule” for each day of the week together with the child to pre-determine what kind of sandwich the child will eat at school each day. Once a week the sandwich could have a sweet filling like chocolate, jam or halva spread, while fillings for other days should be light yellow cheese, white or cottage cheese or hummus.

  • Children should get into the habit of having a green vegetable or fruit with the sandwich which can be sliced and put into a separate container or placed between lettuce leaves so as not to dampen the sandwich.

  • Children who do not like sandwiches can instead be offered sliced vegetables, hummus grains, a hard-boiled egg or cubes of bulgarit or tzfatit white cheeses, olives/avocado/techina, crackers or slices of toasted whole wheat bread, yoghurt with diced fruit or cereal in a separate container, or salty cheese-filled baked items. The meal should combine different kinds of foods in order to provide nutritional balance. Foods can be packed into a lunchbox so the child can have a meal that does not include a sandwich.

  • Attention must be paid to drinking water throughout the school day. Drinking is essential as water is an important component of our bodies (more than half). Water quenches thirst, is healthier for teeth, and contributes to children’s level of alertness.

  • Children should eat lunch at the table and not opposite a computer screen or TV. Meals should comprise a protein such as meatballs, schnitzel, fish patties or a soy substitute for vegetarians (the Ministry of Health recommends no more than three portions per week). For children who prefer a vegetarian menu, meals can comprise legumes such as hummus, beans, lentils and chickpeas together with grains such as rice and corn. Quinoa and full grains could also be added as part of the daily portion. Meals should always include cooked vegetables or a green salad.

  • After-school activities should include sport such as basketball or gymnastics. Physical exercise is important from the standpoint of both health and self-confidence and increases the child’s sense of accomplishment.
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