Healthy Habits: Back to School Tips
The days of summer are gone and now we set our focus on the new school year. As with most new things, there can be excitement, happiness, nerves and stress. For both kids and adults, we’ve rounded up a few key tips to help you stay stress-free as you jump back into the school year.
- Create a Routine
Creating a daily routine is helpful for the entire family. Kids tend to do well when they have a predictable day and know what’s ahead of them. Schedules and routines also help kids with their responsibilities and tasks as they get older. Your routines don’t have to be difficult; simply having wake-up time, mealtime, playtime, bath time, family time and bedtime is great. Check out this easy-to-make routine chart for kids that will help them build a routine. Having a schedule is helpful for adults too. Planning out your day can help you feel prepared and productive. Try starting your day with creating an agenda to see what you need to accomplish that day.
Sleep is oh-so-important for the entire family. Both children and adults tend to function better when rested. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends between 9-12 hours of sleep for school age children (ages 6-12) and 8-10 hours of sleep for teenagers (ages 13-18)… that’s a lot of sleep! Set a bedtime each night to help ensure the family is well rested and starting each day off right. Turn off electronics (tv, phone screens, ipads, computers, etc.) a few hours before bedtime. Research shows that nighttime light exposure suppresses melatonin which controls wake and sleep cycles.
- Focus on Nourishing Food
As important as sleep is for the entire family, nutrition is right up there on the priority list. Strive to get vegetables, fruit and protein at each meal and focus on real food that doesn’t come in a package. Plan ahead and do your grocery shopping and meal preparation on the weekends or evenings so that you have fresh, nutritious food available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many people find it’s much easier to grab foods that they have already prepared, rather than taking the time to make healthy meals in the midst of a busy morning. Here are some great healthy lunch ideas – Pinterest literally has thousands, maybe even millions of ideas!
- Talk + Interact
With the increase in use of technology, we are more and more removed from talk-time and one-on-one personal communication with others. Many people have more conversations and interactions over the phone or computer than in person. Take the time to sit down and talk with your child about his or her day. Limit electronic time in the evenings to a short period. Carve out family time to chat about each other’s days and experiences (family dinner time would a great time for this). Talking with one another helps ensure family members are heard and are able to express their feelings, thoughts and opinions about their daily happenings.
Most days, kids and adults are sitting more than they are moving. We sit in the car, we sit at school and at work, we sit at appointments- sit, sit, sit. Although kids get some recess, they are still not moving much throughout the day. Moving is not only good for our physical health, but it has positive impacts on our mental health too. Regular exercise has shown to decrease depressive symptoms, increase energy and help with focusing on tasks. For school age kids, ensure they are able to get playtime when they get home from school. For adults, move throughout the day (little walk breaks are great) and add in some exercise whenever possible.