It is always hard to say goodbye to summer’s lazy days, fun outings, and vacations, but with the new school year fast approaching, it’s best to start getting your kids used to their school year schedule now. Many families relax their bedtimes and health habits in favor of fun outings and more outside playtime. Unfortunately, this ease in routine makes the transition to the new school year more difficult, and your child’s learning can suffer. Here are some tips you can start implementing now that August has come around.
- Start moving your kids’ bedtime back to their normal school-year schedule. Kids who suddenly have to go to bed and wake up early when the first day of school arrives are more tired in school, struggle to pay attention, and may have poor attitudes. Getting kids in bed earlier at night and up earlier in the morning before that first day arrives ensures that they will be ready to learn and be healthier, happier students and friends.
- As always, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables! Summertime brings the best of farmers markets and produce! Stock your refrigerator with cut up fruits and vegetables, so that when snack time comes, it’s easy and available. Both adults and kids reap the benefits of a healthy diet, including more energy and less illness. Start the school year off right with healthy snacks and meals to promote healthy living and good attendance all year long. Parents, get ready to pack lunches by finding new, fun, and portable ideas, such as fruit kabobs, zucchini muffins and trail mix loaded with cereals, dried fruits and popcorn.
- Do you and/or your kids walk to school? Or the bus stop? Grab those sneakers and get your kids moving if they have enjoyed a more leisurely summer. Get your kids ready to get to school and for recess! Take advantage of cooler temperatures in the mornings and take your kids (and maybe your dog) for a walk! Exercise, in conjunction with a healthy diet, promotes good health, both physical and mental, for the whole family! Also, knowing how they will get to school will reduce back-to-school stress, particularly for kids starting at a new school.
Start NOW for a successful transition into the new school year, for both you and your kids! Good luck and we wish you happy, healthy kids!
Written by Darby S. Petitt, Ph.D.