It’s that time…time for the kids to go back to school. Mine started yesterday, to their dismay. I have to be honest in saying that it was hard on me as well. Here in San Diego we never had a “real” summer, as the weather was downright chilly and overcast most of the summer. It was definitely not a normal summer, so I feel badly now that the sun has come out and it is beautiful and the kids are sitting in class all day! But luckily we still have the weekends to enjoy the beautiful weather, and even after school…so all is not lost!
It is important during this transition ‚ from free-for-all days and sleeping late to schedules and homework ‚to keep a few bits of advice in mind. None of them will be things you have not heard before, but they are worth repeating to assure your kids have the smoothest transition possible. So here it goes…
Sleep: I don’t know about you, but my kids were allowed to go to sleep and wake up anytime they wanted over summer. To me that is part of being a kid in the summer time. I have one early to bed-early to rise child, and one late-nighter-late-sleeper child. No matter, it worked. Sleep schedules do need to be altered during school, of course. It is important to stick to a set bedtime so that mornings are not so hard, and so that you children can get through the day without nodding off in class, especially since they (at least mine) don’t drink coffee yet. Most importantly, the tone set in the morning can set their mood going into the day, so it needs to be positive and there should be ample time for getting ready, not rushing.
Food: I am a big breakfast pusher. Personally, I don’t function without it, so I make sure my kids eat a healthy one before they are out the door. No sugar either!
Hydration: Ok, so we all know how important this is, especially when it is hot. But it also helps with concentration during school hours, so I really try to drill it into my kids to drink a lot throughout the day.
Lunch: Also important. I can’t believe what some parents pack their kids for lunch–sugar and fat! It really amazes me the few times I am at school for lunch to see what some of these kids eat! It’s not just because I am a health nut, but parents: you are setting your childrens’ habits for life here. If they think it is OK to eat white bread and sugared peanut butter, drink sugary drinks and have chips and a twinkie for lunch, then they will continue these unhealthy habits. I try fun things like carrot sticks with peanut butter, whole wheat crackers with cheese slices (none of the processed cheese dips), cut up whole wheat pita pieces or pita chips with yogurt sauce. For something sweet try cut up peaches or watermelon slices. The possibilities are endless, but please think healthy!
After school snack. This is another one of my rules…after school we have a healthy snack. I am amazed at how hungry my children are after school–they usually eat an entire meal. Sometimes they go over friends’ houses and are not offered any food after school, but when those same children come to my house boy are they hungry! It gives them a jump start to homework and also for getting some exercise.
Exercise. This is a key ingredient in the making of a healthy child. When I was a kid all the neighborhood children went outside after school and rode bikes around the cul-du-sac for hours. Many kids these days want to sit in front of a television or play video games. Get your kids up and moving, whether they take classes or you take the dogs on a walk, swim, go to the park…whatever allows them to get their pent-up sitting-in-school-all-day energy out.
Planning skills. School time is the best time to teach good planning skills that will carry your children far. Our schools have planners that the children receive each year. In it they write down all their assignments and homework. I also encourage my teen to put everything down in his calendar on his phone, so he will be sure to remember assignments. Organization is so important!
Those are my suggestions for easing back into the school year. I hope your children have a great school year!