As the new school year kicks into high gear, there are many little pointers that can make the experience safer and more beneficial for all concerned. Let‘s look at a few of these back-to-school tips:

1. Plan effectively. Develop a routine where you take a few minutes the night before and decide what you will need to take with you the next day. Lay out clothing so those decisions are already made when you wake up. Get up early enough to avoid rushing, this way you won’t forget things, and you won’t be scrambling to keep from being late. Leaving just a few minutes early saves your back a considerable amount of stress.

2. Look both ways before crossing the street. Unlike England, where there are actually directions on the ground asking you to look left and right before you cross, we have to take responsibility to instruct our children to carefully observe the road before walking across it, especially at busy intersections. Most of us remember our parents directing us to “look both ways” – it’s a tradition that continues to make sense and protect against unnecessary danger.

3. Watch out for the weight and size of backpacks. Children these days often load up their backpacks with books, study materials, and other kid stuff. Test the weight of your child’s backpack – it is common that children struggle with overstuffed back packs and risk injury, so take the responsibility to monitor this often overlooked hazard. A backpack should be no more than ten percent of the child’s body weight – more than that creates the potential for spinal damage.

4. Pace yourself on homework. Many students are very efficient with their homework, others not so much. Help your child develop a rhythm where the homework is done properly and at a reasonable pace. Help him or her organize so there is a game plan for completing all assignments without undue stress or hassle. If your child resists doing homework, make the case that people do homework throughout their lives, and that this is not only required for the course of study they are taking, but also as basic life training they will benefit from going forward.

5. Develop checkpoints along the way. Many children have challenges dealing with one or more of their subjects, finding others easier for them. If you help them break down their assignments into smaller pieces, they may seem less overwhelming to them, and your child will become more enthusiastic about taking small but certain steps in the direction of better understanding. We ask a lot of our students intellectually, and few are gifted in every subject – give them a helping hand in those that are less natural for them by creating little milestones that mark partial success, instead of making them complete everything before they get any gratification.

6. Kill the monster while it’s small. This expression means that we need to notice problems and issues early, so they don’t snowball into much bigger problems before they are addressed. Missing a single homework may not be the biggest deal in the world, but if a child realizes he or she can get away with it, then there will be more misses and before you know it a bad habit has developed. Squash that tendency early in the process, by observing the results and consistency your child creates and encourage a willingness to maintain that standard. Again, this is important life training that transcends the value of the particular subject matter – it’s a way to generate good work habits which will lead to success in any endeavor they choose.

Some students find school easy to handle, others do not – but it’s no indicator of intelligence overall, just a way to measure some of the key elements of education. Every child has his or her own unique positive qualities – help your child learn by following a few simple guidelines, and the process will be less painful and more productive. Happy learning!

Give Your Child The “I” Test 

No, the “I” test doesn’t have anything to do with good eyesight, but it has a lot to do with vision – a vision of a healthy, happy life for you and your family.

You see, the “I” test is a simple posture test anyone can do. Just stand behind someone, and look at his or her shoulders, hips and the spine that connects them. In most people, you should see a capital “I”, with the shoulders and hips being the top and bottom lines, and the spine being the center line.

You may want to place your hands on the shoulders and/or hips to make it easier to visualize, but once you do this a few times, it will be very obvious to you. Just try it, you’ll see. This is similar to the way spinal specialists examine people for scoliosis, an unwanted curvature of the spine. Some curves are normal, some are not.

If the “I” looks lopsided or bent in any way, it tells you that there may be something out of place in that person’s structure, which can often be corrected or at least improved upon with a program of conservative chiropractic care. Safe and gentle, even children who have such imbalances in their bodies respond quickly and effectively – and there are never any drugs or surgery involved, only all natural care based on an all natural philosophy.

You probably want to get your family checked periodically by your local spine and nerve system expert, your doctor of chiropractic, but you can get a jump on any developing problems by performing the “I” test on your family periodically.