Healthy Tips for Back-To-School Success

by Jennifer Yates, RN
Clinical Coordinator, Lackey Free Clinic

This is an exciting and busy time of year as families prepare their children to go back to school. To make the transition as easy as possible, the suggestions listed below will help to ensure a healthy, productive school year.

  1. Start the school year off right with a physical and eye exam, especially if children will be participating in sports or other after-school activities.
  2. Establish a regular bedtime routine which includes a set schedule for both going to bed and getting up in the mornings. Begin the routine several weeks before school starts so that children can gradually become adjusted to the new time schedule. Try as much as possible to stick to the set schedule even on weekends.
  3. To prevent the flurry of rushing that often occurs during the mornings, have as much prepared the night before as possible. Have book-bags packed and the next day’s clothes put out ahead of time. An easy way to accomplish these goals is to have a designated bin or storage area at the front door for each child in the family. By doing this, each child has their own space and a “staging area” for supplies they will need for the next day of school.
  4. Start each school day off right with a healthy breakfast.
  5. After school, provide a quiet, well-lit area in the home where children can complete homework. Have school supplies and other necessities in the designated area readily available for access.
  6. Provide children with healthy snack options after school. Instead of the usual cookies, chips, or processed snacks, offer more nutritious options such as fruits and vegetables.
  7. Substitute water or milk as drink choices instead of juices or soda.
  8. Involve children in the process of making their lunches for school. Children are much more likely to choose and eat healthier meals when they are able to participate in simple cooking plans or packing their lunch boxes.
  9. Encourage sixty minutes of age-appropriate physical activity every day.
  10. Be a role model for your children. They more they see YOU being physically active, choosing healthy food options, and supporting yourself with good sleep habits, the more likely they are to develop good habits.

These tips were contributed by Jennifer Yates, RN, of the Lackey Free Clinic. The Lackey Free Clinic is a faith-based free medical clinic that has been operating in Lackey, York County, Virginia since 1995. The Clinic seeks to build a bridge of healing and compassion to serve the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the medically disadvantaged on the Peninsula.

To meet its desired goals to serve the uninsured, Lackey Clinic has an ever growing volunteer staff of over 300 individuals that include: physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, dentists/dental assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, social workers, administrative volunteers, board members and allied healthcare workers. The Clinic provides free medical exams, dental care, free labs, x-ray testing, and medications.

Volunteers are truly the heartbeat of what they do, and they could not serve the many uninsured that come seeking care without volunteer support. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, the best way to get started is to go to their website and fill out the on-line application, and either email, mail (address on application) or fax 757-369-3831 it back to Kim Spencer, Volunteer Resource Manager,757-886-0608 ext233 or

To become a Lackey patient, a person must have no health insurance, meet income guidelines, and live within the service area of York, Williamsburg, Poquoson, James City or Newport News (zip codes 23601, 23602, 23603, 23604, 23606 & 23608). New patients can apply either at the clinic, at Grove Christian Outreach, or at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Yorktown. For more information on eligibility, please contact Lackey Clinic at 757-886-0608, x252 or email Olivette Burroughs at


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