Back-to-School Tips: Healthy Habits for the Young Student
Although it feels as if we just turned on our barbecues and cleaned our pools for summer vacation, the onslaught of colourful "back-to-school" ads has begun. And while most kids look forward to buying new pens and notebooks, they're not quite as excited to return to the early mornings, assignments, and tests. It's important to establish routines to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some habits that will foster wellness and independence while returning to school.
Maximize the Night Before:
The less planning and decision-making left for the morning grogginess, the easier the morning-rush. Make sure all homework, textbooks, and school supplies are in the backpack, ready to grab on the way out. Check the calendar and weather and set out the outfit accordingly. Decide what's going in the lunch bag and prepare what you can. Practicing this preparation is a wonderful way to encourage organization. Calm mornings ease the anxiety of the crazy-packed school schedule.
Make Sleep Count:It's not news that sleep is an essential part of the strong mind and body. Maintaining bedtimes and creating a soothing sleep environment are just two components of a good sleep. Set bedtimes incrementally earlier as school approaches and make sure to regulate screen-time and sugar intake before bedtime. Ensuring darkness and comfortable temperatures (approximately 21°-23°C) in the bedroom is fundamental. Beyond these tactical measures, good sleep derives from stress relief and positive associations with bedtime. Create a short and simple power-down routine with quiet activities such as:
- Light stretching/yoga
- Listening to soothing music
Such comfort in sleep goes a long way in promoting a student's health and sets a good foundation for life-long sleep habits.
Give a Role in Nutrition:
In the ideal world, everyone would be eating clean meals and staying perfectly hydrated and nourished; but in the "go-go-go!" rush, it's not a realistic goal for most. Kids who are taught to be partially responsible for their diets are more likely to not only finish their plate but also be nutrition-conscious later on.For breakfast, consider:
- Having kids set the table
- Putting milk and juices in easy-to-pour containers for kids to self-serve
- Meal-planning dishes covering all food groups
- Their own personalized set of containers, water bottle, cutlery, and thermos
- A structured lunch box with nutrition guidelines
- Their favourite nutritious choices within grabbing-reach
- Cereal bars
- Fruit pops
- Veggie Dip