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Back to school can be a tough adjustment for both you and your child, but we are here
to help. Follow these research based tips to get off to a good start this school year.
Routines are wonderful tools. Some people have a knack for setting and keeping routines,
and others find it difficult, but kids, despite how much they may protest, thrive
in routine. Routines cut down on anxiety, ease time management, and allow for increased
Set clear expectations and allow for time to get into routine both at night and in the morning. It is a good
idea to begin the back to school routines before school actually begins. A few days
is usually sufficient, but some kids may need longer.
Going back to school also means going back to bed at a set time every night. Establishing
a routine is essential to ensuring a good night’s sleep for your child. The same process of getting ready for bed each
night will help prepare the child’s body and mind for rest. A child’s bedtime routine
should be consistent, relaxing and free from distractions.
Kids who have been staying up later during the summer months may have trouble adjusting
back to a school-time sleep schedule. Parents can ensure children are well rested
and ready for the school day by gradually adjusting kids’ bedtimes so that they go
to bed earlier and wake up earlier. The National Sleep Foundation recommends parents begin adjusting bedtimes about two
weeks before school starts.
We recommend easing a child into a school time sleep schedule by pushing his or her
bedtime back by 10-15 minutes each night until reaching their ideal bedtime. The same
principle should be applied in the morning hours. This gradual change of sleeping
habits, combined with a proper bedtime routine, should make the transition away from
summer easier and help your child feel more prepared for heading back to school.
Skipping sleep can be harmful. According to Washburn, teenagers are the age group
least likely to get enough sleep, with the average teen getting fewer than seven hours
on school nights by the end of high school. Parents of teenagers should see their children are getting 8.5 - 9 hours of sleep
Read more about teens and sleeping habits
Eating on the go doesn't have to be unhealthy. It just takes a little planning. When
the school year begins it becomes even more difficult to get dinner on the table,
so it is important to prep meals ahead of time. When you have dinner planned ahead
of time it is easier to resist the drive thru. Some of our favorite options are DIY
frozen meals, one pot wonders, and slow cooker meals.
Check out our healthy AND fast recipes for school nights
Check out these 5 easy slow cooker meals
Eating a healthy breakfast that is high in protein and low in sugar will lead to benefits
Read more about the importance of breakfast
Try our 6-minute Denver scramble slider
Try our make ahead breakfast burritos
Make sure your child knows the after-school plan and be sure to communicate that with their teachers and all other necessary people.
Most schools have strict policies about pick-up/end-of-day procedures. If your child
typically walks home, but they are picked up when it is raining, the school needs
to know that. If you normally pick them up, but grandma is getting them on Fridays,
the school (and your child) needs to know that as well.
Read about shopping for childcare.
If you plan for your child to come home after school and stay alone, be sure you set
clear expectations for them so they understand what they can and cannot do. Our Family Life Friday "Home Alone" series outlines some issues of readiness, safety, and structure you should consider before leaving your child home alone.
Read about keeping your child safe online.
It is easy to get sucked into too many activities at the beginning of school. There
are sign-up sheets everywhere, and different clubs and organizations are asking for
you to volunteer and for your child to participate. Be thoughtful and intentional about what you sign up for and what you allow your child
to participate in. Especially if you have more than one child, you may find yourself constantly shuttling
children around to activities and meetings.
Set limits on what activities your child(ren) can participate in. It is difficult to say no when they are excited about something, but they need to
learn to make choices and to have down time, and you need down time as well. It is
ok to say no to committees and parent boards and other things you may feel obligated
rather than excited to participate in. Find ways to plug in that fit your interests