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Back on Track for Back to School

Dr. Andrew Johnston, DC, SFMA, IASTM

It’s that time of the year again! Back to school! Schedules are changing, activities are back in full swing, and we are all starting to scramble for some normalcy. It’s such an exciting and fun time for our kiddos. There’s no reason it can’t be a time for progress and fun for all of us!

Here are four awesome tips to keep our kids (and ourselves!) standing tall as the new school year approaches. Let’s make this time of year fun for everyone!

  • Backpacks are back

  • Keep to a schedule

  • Prioritize yourself

  • Breathe

Backpacks are back

The school year is about to begin and we need to have our kids backs—both literally and figuratively! Backpacks, if not used properly, can cause poor posture, back pain, and even headaches for our kiddos. Let’s take a look and make sure those packs are done up right!

Are the straps high and tight or low and stretched? Keeping the straps high and tight around shoulders will improve posture, decrease their likelihood of back pain and even make their backpacks feel lighter.

Remember parents, the bottom of the pack shouldn’t be below their waistline. Tighten the straps enough to allow the shoulders to carry the weight and not your children’s lower back.

Does your kid’s backpack have a horizontal waist or shoulder strap? If so, sinch it up! This will allow their shoulders and core do the lifting.

Last but not least, your child’s backpack has two shoulder straps for a reason—Make sure they’re using them.

Keep to a schedule

Alright parents! We all know that now, more than ever, getting back to school, the new quarter at work and other new phases of life happening simultaneously can be chaotic and stressful. Schedules will begin to get jumbled, crossed and maybe even forgotten, and that’s ok. As we try to stick to a schedule or routine, our lives will become less chaotic and more focused.

Helping ourselves and our kids to stick to a good routine and schedule will help in decreasing stress and anxiety as their new schedules, school activities, and loads of homework begin.

More than anything, try to get that bedtime schedule and routine nailed down. Sleep is crucial for our kiddos’ brains and bodies and gives them time to heal and grow.

Take 10-15 minutes each night to go over schedules and tasks for the next day. This will make for a more successful and happier flow the following day.

Prioritize yourself

Sounds selfish, I know! But, if we as parents can’t take care of ourselves and our own needs, how are we supposed to take care of our loved one’s needs? Schedule 15-30 minutes, or even an hour if you can swing it, to focus on YOUR needs, YOUR goals and YOUR desires. This will open the gate to personal joy and fulfillment and will allow you to help those around you to do the same.

Many of us strive to follow through on commitments we have made to or for others. We should place that same amount of importance on the commitments that we make to ourselves! Those plans are there to help you learn, grow and become the person that you want to become. As we strive to achieve greatness, it encourages others to do the same.

Take some time to yourself. You deserve it. You won’t regret it.


Last, but definitely not least…breathe!

How many times in your life have you heard somebody tell you, ‘Take a breath’, or ‘Just breathe’? Did you know that something as simple as a deep breath can change your physical, emotional and mental states?

Taking deep breaths or ‘diaphragmatic breaths’ have been shown to increase sustained attention times as well as decrease cortisol levels.

The simple act of taking a breath can also help those who suffer from chronic headaches and migraines. When we take deep diaphragmatic breaths, this helps to calm those headache causing muscles in our necks and can decrease the likelihood of headaches.

There you have it folks! The way to a happy, healthy, and fun start to the school year. Remember, make sure those backpacks are done up properly. High on the body and comfortably tight is the goal. Plan and schedule! Getting into routines and schedules can increase the peace we need this time of the year. And lastly, and possibly most importantly, don’t forget about yourselves! Take the time to focus on you and your goals. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Something so simple can do so much good.

Implementing these four effective tools can help calm the storms of chaos and make for a fun and fantastic start to the school year. Test it out and tell us what you think.

Andrew Johnston, DC, SFMA, FDN 1 & 2 is a sports centered chiropractor whose passion is helping his patients achieve their greatest potential and dreams, whether that be lifting their grandkids, hiking the trail of their dreams, or succeeding in the professional sport arena. To do this, Dr. Johnston focuses on finding and treating the root cause of his patient’s problems, rather than just treating symptoms. Stay connected with Dr. Johnston on Instagram @washparkchiro


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