Back to school means back to routines for area families


Monday is the big day in two more area counties – time to head back to school.

Duval and Columbia county public schools are back in action Monday and Clay County kicks their year off Tuesday.

Duval County Public Schools released new numbers late Sunday night ahead of the first day of class.

Approximately 128,600 students are enrolled and DCPS expects that number to increase.

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The prospect of a new school year can be a little nerve-racking for some kids. With everything from getting up early to homework, it can be overwhelming.

A new school year isn’t just tough for students; it can be rough for parents, too. Getting kids back to bed on time isn’t easy after three months of summer.

News4Jax spoke with president and CEO of Daniel Kids, Jim Clark. He says getting kids on a schedule is critical, particularly with bed time. That includes watching TV and tablets before bed.

"Start to lessen their screen time and their activities at least an hour before they go to bed," Clark said. "There’s a lot of discussion about blue light and how important it is for that to not be on. So, start to calm the household down about an hour before they go to bed."

Clark said elementary-age students need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Middle schoolers and older, need 8 to 10 hours.

Another thing Clark says is important is talking to your child’s teacher.

"All teachers are not equal and the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so we now know how important it is to communicate with the teacher," Clark said. "So, after two weeks, if you haven’t heard from the teacher, then you as a parent need to call them to just see how things are going. Not to scold, but to let them know you’re paying attention."

Clark said discussing the upcoming year with the family the night before the first day has also been successful in easing the stresses of the new school year.

"Talk about and set expectations," Clark said. "What are some of the things that we’re going to start expecting out of you? We’ve got to start looking at our routines – getting established."

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