How to Have a Healthy and Productive Back to School
It’s the time of the year that most kids have been avoiding; Back To School!
Going back to school can make some kids anxious. Some are starting kindergarten and others are transitioning from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school. Help your child keep things in perspective by helping them to realize that this new experience is exciting. Encourage them to have a positive attitude about the experience. Start off the school year by leading by example. Set the standards for a responsible, independent, and successful child by being the role model. Here are some tips for making back to school a less stressful experience:
Preschool: Make sure your preschooler starts the day with a healthy breakfast. If you have a fussy eater, try variations of his favorite foods.
Elementary/Middle School/High School: Kids in this age group need to have healthy eating habits as well as a fitness regimen. Serve your children healthy snacks and involve them in grocery shopping and the preparation of food. Try a new snack for lunch each week. If you’re stuck on what to serve your children, check out http://www.yourkidsandnutrition.com. Make sure your kids get adequate exercise each day.
Preschool: Your child needs 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop and be consistent with a bedtime routine. Have your child engage in quiet activities before bedtime, such as reading a picture book or completing a puzzle. Avoid liquids close to bedtime. Check out: http://www.sleepforkids.org
Elementary: Encourage your child to develop a routine of falling asleep and waking at the same time, even on weekends. After a summer vacation, it can be quite difficult to get into the habit of falling asleep early. Have your child start sleeping an hour earlier and slowly transition into the appropriate bedtime. Avoid television and caffeine close to bedtime. Extra tip: Pay attention to any signs of stress. Ask your child questions to find out if they are anxious or feeling stress because of the new school year. Let them know you are available to listen, if they want to talk. For more information on kids and stress, visit http://www.kidshavestresstoo.org
Middle School/High School: Your child needs between 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep. Monitor digital technology intake before bedtime. Advise your child to avoid computer games and heavy studying before bedtime. Make sure your child turns off the television before bedtime.
Preschool: If you want to avoid being late in the mornings, wake up a 1/2 to 1 hour earlier and get yourself prepared. Lay out the clothes the night before or if you able to for the entire week. Have breakfast ready for your preschooler and make getting ready a game. Play a beat the clock kind of game with your child. Preschoolers are very competitive and like to win.
Elementary School: Show your child the value of time by how you prioritize and organize your time. Teach your child to be more independent and responsible by allowing them to pick out their clothes. Agree to a scheduled study time and support your child in being consistent with this time.
Middle School/High School: Avoid resentment and power struggles by setting reasonable guidelines. Help your child to approach time management with confidence. Instead of lecturing about the importance of time, show your child how to use their time more effectively. If they see you procrastinating, then they will assume it’s acceptable for them to procrastinate. Create a schedule and a list of things to do together. Teach them to set and follow through on specific goals.
Don’t forget to be supportive and provide a lot of encouragement throughout the year.