Get Your Kids Back Into Their School Routine
As we prepare for our kids to return to school, we may forget to focus on the following important items that are essential to having a successful year – nutrition, routine, and health checks.
Fuel your child with nutritious food.
Make breakfast a priority – eating a healthy breakfast is ideal for starting your day. Encourage your kids to eat a good breakfast before school. Put away the screens, sit down and eat together. A balanced breakfast doesn’t have to be an elaborate hot meal. A bowl of whole-grain cereal (skip the sugary ones, aim for less than 10 grams of sugar per serving) + low-fat milk + piece of fruit is a quick and nutritious breakfast.
Ensure your kids are drinking plenty of water – we all need to remember to drink more water, kids especially. When our bodies are lacking water, dehydration can lead to system overload. Our thinking becomes cloudy, our energy diminishes and we become sluggish. Send your kids to school with a water bottle daily and encourage them to refill their water bottle often.
Have a nutritious snack ready for after school – children typically are hungry by the time they return home from school. If your family does not eat supper right after school, you child may need a snack in between meal times.
- Find the right-sized snack that will satisfy their hungry for the time being but won’t fill them up before supper time.
- Offer a snack like an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or a cup of yogurt, a healthy granola bar or cheese and whole-grain crackers.
- Send a snack to school with your child if they ride the bus or have a long drive home after school.
- Think of snack times as additional opportunities during the day for kids to eat more of the foods they might not be getting enough of in their three meals.
Create a routine.
For most kids, summer break means staying up late, carefree days, and little scheduled time. It can be difficult to get back in the swing of a routine. However, routines are so important for children to give them a sense of security and help them develop self-disciple.
Get plenty of rest.
Bedtime is a perfect example of when a routine and schedule is needed. A good day at school starts with a good night of sleep. One routine with multiple benefits is reading. Bedtime is the perfect time to read to your child or have them read to you. Remember that electronics (cell phones, computers, TVs) can negatively affect the ease of falling asleep and getting quality sleep. The amount of sleep needed will vary among children.
Guidelines based on age are:
- Preschool: 10-13 hours
- Elementary: 9-11 hours
- Teenagers: 8-10 hours
Schedule health check-ups.
If you haven’t done so already, your child may need a check-up with the doctor and dentist. It may also be time for an eye exam as good vision is essential for learning. Are immunizations up to date? Iowa law requires vaccine boosters prior to kindergarten, 7th grade and 12th grade. Shots aren’t fun, but are important to the health of your child and other students. A healthy child is ready to learn!