I can’t believe it’s already time to go back to school! Time to make some changes to help the new school year start out right.
In our house, we find transitioning from lazy summer days to strict school schedules to be tough, even for the kids who can’t wait to go back. I always find easing into new routines and promoting healthy habits at home helps make the transition easier. Below are my suggestions to help your kids be the best they can be.
Don’t let your kids skip breakfast in the morning rush. A healthy morning meal helps kids concentrate better in class and maintain a healthy weight. Keep healthy breakfast foods, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, yogurt, and fresh fruit on hand, or make sure your children eat a balanced breakfast at school.
Look over the school menu with your child, especially if a picky eater. Check your school website together to view the upcoming lunch menu. Plan to pack a healthy lunch your child if you know the cafeteria meal will go uneaten on a specific day.
Teach your child how to prepare healthy snacks and keep nutritious foods on hand. Microwave popcorn, nuts, peanut butter on celery stalks and low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers are good options.
Earlier wake-up times can be tough on both kids and parents. I recommend rolling back bedtimes the week before classes begin to each everyone into the new schedule. Help your children get sufficient sleep by establishing and maintaining a nighttime routine. Keep in mind children ages 5 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, while teens need at least 9 hours of sleep.
Your kids may not be getting enough sleep if they:
are irritable, restless or have a short attention span.
have much less energy than usual
are more impatient, anxious, or defensive than usual.
To encourage a good night’s sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends:
Limiting caffeine consumption in the afternoon and evening.
Avoiding serving big dinners close to bedtime.
Setting a regular bedtime and enforcing it.
Creating a calming nighttime routine. Video games and TV shows are too stimulating before bed. Instead, share a favorite story with your child or encourage her to read on her own.
All the time
Children’s success in school is closely tied to the support they get at home. Below are tips to help your kids get the most out of school:
Maintain open lines of communication with teachers and understanding their expectations.
Create a homework station and keeping adequate school supplies on hand.
Designate times for doing homework, playing outside, and watching TV or playing video games.
Be available to help with homework.
Observe your children for signs of frustration or confusion.
You will likely get the teacher’s email address at the school open house. Use it if needed – don’t wait until the parent-teacher conference to address issues of concern. Taking steps early can make a big difference.
What tips can you share that help your family transition smoothly from summer to the new fall schedule?