Your kids are going back to school! It’s been a wonderful, warm summer hopefully full of relaxation and adventure. But all good things must end and the school year is starting back up. We have a couple of tips to get you and your children ready to go back healthy and happy.
Instill good habits for days at school.
Washing their hands regularly. After using the bathroom, after recess, before eating, make sure children wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Lots of germs are spread rapidly through schools, especially with the younger grades, so remind them of how important it is. And, if they’re young enough, discuss using warm water, soap and washing for 20 seconds.
Being active. Going from the endless, unrestricted activity that is summer to the highly structured school day can be hard for active children, especially while the weather is still beautiful. Remind children to use their recess and free time wisely – if they don’t have time during school hours, try to make some time after school for them to have unstructured free time.
Trying to choose healthy snacks. It’s easier in the summer to make sure sugary snacks are balanced out with healthy alternatives and activity. However, even if you pack lunches and snacks, you have less of a say in what kind of snacks they might be choosing. Remind them that they’ll feel better, be more focused, and have more energy throughout the day with healthier options.
Wearing their backpack properly. Books are heavy and have to be carried everywhere all day long. Be sure your child’s backpack is fitted properly and that they wear both straps. Learn more about how to do that. Backpacks are a better alternative to messenger bags but if you choose to go with a messenger bag, be sure to switch sides every day.
Keep good habits going at home, too.
Encouraging open communication. The beginning of school can create a lot of anxiety for children because of all the change – new students, new friends, new teachers, new responsibilities. Fostering communication for both good and bad topics will help them adjust.
Keeping bedtime. A good morning starts with a good night’s sleep. Bedtime hours may have been fudged a little over the summer, and may have included a few nights of falling asleep in front of the television. But during the school year, its important to be disciplined about bedtimes to be sure they (and you!) get a good night’s sleep.
Scheduling consciously. At the beginning of the year, there is an endless buffet of fun groups and activities to sign up for, but make sure your eyes aren’t too big for your stomach. It may be hard to pick just one or two things for your kids to commit to, but it’s not worth the nerves and stress of running around with sports equipment, dance shoes, instruments and Girl Scout cookies in the car while kids do homework in the back seat.
Creating a distraction free zone. Speaking of doing homework in the car – that’s an OK idea for sometimes, but shouldn’t be the norm. Choosing an area in the house that has no TV, or other gadgets that might distract them, will help your studious children focus better on homework and studying.
And make sure you’re breathing easy.
Double check the safety of bus and walking routes to school. Make sure you’re familiar with the areas they’re walking, that you know the bus route, or if they’re carpooling, that you know who’s driving. It’s a simple step to take early in the year to give you some peace of mind.
Book all necessary appointments. The most important thing is your child’s health. Before the school year gets in full swing, book any annual check ups, shots/vaccines, physicals, or any other appointments needed to make sure they are fully ready to rock this school year.
We hope that these tips help get your school year off to a great start.