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The transition from summer to school can be tough for kids and parents, but getting the school year off to a good start can build your child’s confidence, boost their attitude and improve their academic performance throughout the entire year.

Thirty-year occupational therapist Nancy Lawton-Shirley knows there’s an effective combination needed to set kids up for success.

“Even kids who know what to expect can experience anxiety,” says Lawton-Shirley. “There are more after-school activities, and of course the social and academic pressures associated with school.” Lawton-Shirley suggests the following tips as a way to help kids refocus this fall:

Sleep well, eat well.

During the school year, it’s important to set a nightly routine without too much disruption over the weekend. Explain to your child the reason for doing this-so they don’t get over-tired or overwhelmed by school and after-school activities. Similarly, sustain a mealtime routine, especially eating a healthy breakfast. You may want to try to include more protein in the morning and carbohydrates in the evening-it really makes a difference. A good night’s sleep and well-balanced eating habits are proven effective ways to set a good foundation for the day.

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