Top 4 Back To School Tips To Start Your Kids Off On The Right Foot

The summer is coming to a close and it’s back-to-school time for kids.  This time of year can be tough for kids and for parents too.  You go from fun, vacations, play dates and delayed bedtimes back to routines, early wake-ups, early-to bed and longer days where attention is required at school and for homework. It’s not always an easy adjustment. Below are 4 back to school tips you can take to make this transition easier for you and for your kids:

1)  Sleep Routine
After all those late summer nights and skipped bedtimes, it’s time to get those routines back in place.  The week before school starts, it’s a good idea to get kids back into a school-time sleeping routine of going to bed early and waking up early. You can even schedule early-morning outings (to the library or Science Centre, perhaps?) to make it a fun and natural transition. You’ll appreciate this on the first day of school. And, don’t forget the importance of a good night’s sleep for kids when it comes to growth, keeping their immune systems healthy, as well as improving school performance, memory, concentration and problem-solving skills.

Studies have also found that lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure in teens aged 13 to 16 if they are getting less than 6 ½ hours of sleep nightly.  School-aged kids need about 9 hours of sleep nightly, with adults needing 7 to 8 hours nightly.  Keep them on a solid routine, sleeping and waking at the same time every day, in a dark room with NO TV or computers.

First-Day Jitters
Sometimes, the first day of school can be nerve-racking for a child, whether it’s their first day back or their first-day period.  Any new situation can be unsettling, so children need time to adjust. But, there are things you can do to get them ready and reduce some of the easily handled stressors if your child is anxious about back to school.  Anything you can do to ease their nerves and help them adjust to their new surroundings until things become familiar will benefit them in the long run. Let them know that the way they are feeling is completely normal and they aren’t alone.

Emphasize the positive things about going back to school, such as meeting new friends, seeing old friends, buying school supplies, even sports and activities they can start doing.  Consider adjusting your schedule to make their transition easier. Perhaps taking them in on their first day and making sure you’re home in the evening to talk about their day.  Contact the school beforehand and arrange a visit. Show them the walking route or the bus route. Give them a tour of the playground and their new classroom, if possible.

Let’s not forget the importance of keeping your kids active during the year. Sports often fall to the wayside during the summer, but it’s important to get them back on track and active for at least one hour daily.  There are physical and mental benefits to keeping your kids active. Exercise will help kids feel less anxious, learn more in school, maintain a healthy weight, feel better about themselves and even sleep better at night.

So, instead of that TV/video game/computer at night, or after school, make sure your kids are getting outside and staying active. You can have them walk or bike to and from school if they are old enough and close enough, organize family sporting activities or get them into organized sports after school.

You Are What You Eat
The importance of eating well can’t be over-emphasized, especially when it comes to children. It all starts with that first meal of the day. Children who eat a healthy breakfast are more alert and tend to do better in school, with better memory, higher test grades, better behavior and better attendance.  Breakfast starts them off with the nutrients they need and studies show that kids who skip breakfast may not make up for those lost nutrients later in the day. Kids and adults who eat breakfast also tend to have healthier body weights than those who skip breakfast.

Mornings are a busy time, but allowing your children to skip breakfast is doing them a disservice. If you are pressed for time, even a nutritious smoothie and a good multivitamin can start them off on the right foot.  Try using 
TrueSTRENGTH for those morning smoothies and add in TrueBASICS for Kids and even TrueOMEGA, to ensure they are getting all of those nutrients and healthy fats.

Don’t forget to pack them healthy, balanced lunches!  It’s worth the extra effort to prepare something that your kids like, so they don’t come home with a full lunch box, or try and trade it for their friends’ treats.  
Happy first day back to school and have a great year!

By:  Dr. Andra Campitelli, ND