Fall Is in the Air: Healthy Back to School Tips
Easing your family back into a school-oriented schedule is often resembles organized chaos. Starting a new daily routine, new activities, and getting used to meeting deadlines again can be a jarring adjustment for your child, while the added work of getting everyone ready to go to school, homework completed, and lunch in hand, before you head to work yourself can make your days feel hectic. Here are some back to school tips that will help ease the adjustment period and give your child a great chance for success.
Make heading back to school a breeze.
Buy the right backpack.
As children are assigned more homework and get more textbooks at a younger age, their backpacks are getting heavier. This means that choosing a backpack has become less about the backpack’s style, and more about ensuring that it won’t harm your child. A backpack should sit between your child’s shoulders and lower back in order to reduce the strain on their shoulders and back. The size shouldn’t be any bigger than what your child needs; extra space can quickly make the backpack too heavy, as it becomes easy to fill it with unnecessary items. As long as it’s the right size, allowing your child to choose their own backpack is also a great way to help them become excited for the new school year.
Get your child’s eyesight checked.
It’s a good idea to have your child’s eyesight checked before the start of the school year. While they might have passed the test with flying colors a year ago, eyesight can change rapidly during childhood. Even if your child has crystal clear vision, there are other aspects, such as peripheral vision, that should be tested. Young children don’t often alert you to poor eyesight, but it can affect their performance in school if it goes untreated. Getting this checked out allows you to purchase glasses for your child or ensure that their seating in the classroom is arranged to accommodate any issues with peripheral vision.
Provide healthy meals.
Eating healthy foods is important for your entire family, but these foods play a big role in your child’s development and health. Since they don’t get to pick their lunch time and often can’t have snacks, it’s important that your child has time to eat a healthy, filling breakfast. If they don’t, they may have a hard time focusing in class; long term, this can have a negative impact on their grades. Ideally, their breakfast should be high in protein and fiber so that it will fill them up until lunch comes around.
In general, you should try to include protein, calcium, and as many fresh foods as you can in your child’s diet. When you pack their lunch, try to include a protein, a fruit, and a vegetable; follow this same pattern when you prepare dinner. If your child is allowed a snack at school, try to stick to something relatively healthy, such as yogurt, apple slices, or even a cheese stick. These habits can also benefit you, as a filling breakfast and healthy diet will help you focus better at work, limit how often you reach for snacks, and will improve your health overall.
Practice good oral hygiene.
During the summer, when there’s often nowhere to go first thing in the morning, it’s easy to let dental hygiene slide a little bit. The school routine provides a great framework for your child’s day, however, making it much easier to ensure that they brush their teeth regularly. It might be less hectic to have your child simply brush their teeth in the morning, during the rush to get ready and out the door, and then have them brush their teeth, floss, and use mouthwash before bed. This is still important if your child is young; keeping baby teeth healthy is just as important as keeping adult teeth healthy, and teaching these routines to your children early will help them build habits that will keep their teeth and gums healthy throughout their lives.
Start exercising together.
Exercise is important for everyone, and instilling the habit in your children from a young age will make it more likely that they’ll continue exercising into adulthood. It’s a great idea to devise fun ways to exercise together, so that it becomes a fun family activity that everyone can look forward to instead of dread. Whether you choose to do dance competitions on Dance Dance Revolution, family bike rides, canoeing, or a different activity, doing something you and your child can enjoy is a great way to sneak exercise in—you might not even notice how hard you’re working!
Schedule family time.
With the busy schedules that the school year often brings, it can be hard to get the whole family in a room together, let alone to spend time with each other. As hard as it might be, try to have a family dinner every day of the week, as it’s a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on in your child’s life. You can learn what they’re excited about, what they’re worried about, and possibly pick up on problems that may be going on at school. Aside from this, however, it’s an excellent idea to try and spend at least one night doing an activity as a family. Whether you have a game night every week or mix it up, the idea is to get some time together, just having fun. It’s a good way to continue to build and reinforce a strong relationship as a family.
Relax and reduce stress.
The stress of classes, homework, and project deadlines can really weigh on your kids, regardless of their age. If they’re stressed about grades, try your best to reassure them and help them wherever they need it. Don’t overcommit yourself or your kids to too many clubs, sports, or other extracurricular activities. It’s important for them to have some time to forget school and simply relax, ideally for a little bit each day. For some kids, that might be hanging out with some friends, while for others it might be a cozy night at home, reading or playing video games. This time might be a chance for you to relax, too.
While bedtimes might be a little later or perhaps nonexistent during the summer, the necessity of getting up early in order to get to school on time makes bedtime an essential part of each day. It might seem like kids have boundless energy, but everyone needs a certain amount of sleep each night in order to function. Settle on a bedtime and stick to it; this will make it easier to get your kids up in the morning and reduce crankiness in the evening, and it’ll also provide you with a few chaos-free hours to relax with your spouse. Since you’ll have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow, however, it’s a good idea to hold yourself to a general bedtime as well; that way, you and the kids will all be functioning at your best throughout the day.
School can be stressful for your kids, especially as they get older and begin to receive more homework and start studying more challenging subjects. Ensuring that they don’t have too much on their plates, get plenty of sleep, and get good nutrition are all steps towards giving your children the tools they need to succeed. In the process, you might be able to pencil in some time for you to relax every day, too, making the school year less stressful for the whole family.