Summer vacation is drawing to a close. We are saying goodbye for another year to camping, lake time, kids’ camps, outdoor summer adventures, and less routine. Many of us have kids that are heading back to school, which means re-uniting with friends, learning from new teachers, and starting up extra-curricular activities again. Although many kids will learn and do different things inside and outside of school, one commonality we will share is heading back to a routine. It isn’t easy for kids (or parents!) to settle back into a smooth routine – it will take time – but here are a few tips to try to make it a bit more seamless…..
- Sleep – We all know how we feel when we don’t get enough quantity or quality of sleep. We can’t function as well physically or mentally compared to when we get a good night’s rest. Kids are going to bed and getting out of bed later in the summer. Adjusting your child’s bedtime gradually by reducing it by 15 minutes each night will help them ease back into their school-night bedtime a bit easier.
- Plan Ahead – The weekday, morning rush can seem busy and stressful. Do as much as you can the night before to prepare for the morning ahead. Make lunches the evening prior, get school bags packed, and try to have your child’s clothes laid out. Your mornings will hopefully be a bit more calm when we are that much more prepared.
- Extra-Curricular Activities – There are so many amazing activities that we want our kids to be involved in. It is easy to over-pack their schedules so that they have no downtime. It is a big adjustment going from summer vacation to full-time school, so be easy on your kids as they (and we!) adjust. Try to find a balance where your kids are involved in some activities, where they also have some time to just unwind at home or with friends in a less-structured format. If you choose for your child to have a program that starts right after school, try to ensure that your child has a few moments to relax, recharge and rehydrate before starting their activity.
- Stock Up – Try to find time to stock up your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy school lunch ideas and snacks. It will save you time in the long run, and provide your child with the right nutrients for brain power and to nourish their growing bodies. Some ideas include: homemade muffins, healthy soups, cut-up veggies and fruit, hummus, fresh guacamole, trailmix, hardboiled eggs, and smoothie ingredients.
- Keep hydrated! It is easy to not drink enough water, but it is so important for us (and our kids) to stay hydrated. It helps to promote a healthy immune system, keep us energized, and to keep our muscles moving properly during activity!
- Add in a few key supplements – Vitamins and minerals can help to keep our children healthy, prevent infection, encourage focus and concentration, and enhance our physical capabilities. Vitamin D, a good multi-vitamin, and an omega 3 oil can be great as supplements to a healthy diet.
- Focus on stress management – Many kids suffer with anxiety and cannot cope well with stress in their everyday lives. Stress affects each of us differently. Many children can become overwhelmed with the stress surrounding school, social pressure, and extra-curricular activities. As parents we can help manage our kids’ stress by listening to our children, acknowledging them when they are dealing with stressful situations, and limiting situations that increase their stress levels. If they know that they are heard and can be validated, as well as helping them to develop coping strategies, we can set them up for success in over-coming and dealing with their fears, and ultimately building their confidence. Often it is merely about carving off time to be with them, being a listening ear, and giving them a big warm hug when they need it most.
Here’s wishing you and your families a wonderful start to the school year, full of fun and success – whatever that may mean to your child, and your family, individually.