School, from posture to nutrition: pediatricians’ decalogue for returning to class

The advice of the Health Institute of the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome

Posture, backpacks, nutrition, time and stress management: 10 tips from the pediatricians of the Health Institute of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome to help parents deal in the best way, together with their children, with the return to school. “For millions of children and young people, the time has come to sit on the benches: institutions throughout Italy will reopen their gates by the first half of September. Furthermore, on the hospital portal – recalls Bambino Gesù – it is available to families an entire section dedicated to school with other useful suggestions and insights on specific topics such as the inclusion of children in nursery school and primary school”.

Here is the decalogue of Baby Jesus: 1) Let’s prepare the backpack together. Let’s prepare a light, resistant and well-organised backpack with children and teenagers, placing heavy books close to the back and wearing both shoulder straps comfortably and safely.

2) We encourage good posture. We explain to children how to sit upright, leaning back, with their arms on the desk, thus promoting concentration and comfort during lessons.

3) A walk to school. We promote movement through pleasant activities, such as walking to school or playing outdoors, to keep the mind and body active.

4) Good nutrition to stay focused. We balance main meals with healthy snacks, providing the right amount of calories for the age of the child and adolescent. An adequate snack should provide 5-10% of daily calories, therefore varying – based on age – between 80-100 calories for a 6-year-old child and 180-200 calories for a teenager.

5) Time management, between study and play. We establish a fixed time for homework, including moments of rest, study and sporting activities, for a balanced routine.

6) We share school experiences. We show interest in the school day, asking not only about lessons but also about friendships and shared experiences, creating a family dialogue.

7) Everyone has their own times. We note any difficulties without being alarmed, respecting the child’s learning pace, especially in reading and writing.

8) Stress-free support. We support children in taking care of their commitments without overdoing it, making learning a rewarding experience, not a stressful one.

9) We respect autonomy. We offer support and dialogue without invading privacy, respecting their autonomy and social image.

10) Together to grow. We communicate to children that parents and teachers work together to understand and overcome difficulties, creating a supportive environment.