Healthy Habits to Make Before School Starts

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After lazy days of sleeping in and playing all the time, the early mornings and rigour of schoolwork can come as a shock. It might feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop those beginning-of-the-school-year meltdowns, but you can do a bit of prep work. Make the transition a bit easier by starting a few healthy habits before school starts.

Getting Good Sleep

What time do your kids get up now, and what time will they have to get up once the school year starts? If there’s a big discrepancy, you’ll want to gradually shift their schedules to make it easier to wake up on school mornings. This might mean turning down a few invitations or listening to a few nights of whining, but the results will be worth it in the end. 

Healthy Habits to Make Before School Starts Alarm Clock ImageFollowing a Morning Routine

You’ll want mornings to run smoothly when school starts, so it’s smart to come up with a routine that the kids will follow. Get them in the habit of completing most of these tasks now. For instance, once they get up, they should get dressed, eat breakfast, and brush their teeth. The real school year might include things that you won’t do in the summer, like packing lunches and putting homework into the backpacks, but you can still get a start on this.

Young children may benefit from having a visual aid showing the steps they need to take. This way, you won’t feel like you have to manage every single task. The Happiest Home offers some suggestions for creating your own routine chart.

Making “Homework” Time

Yes, kids are excited to get a break from school work during the summer time, but this can mean that they lose some essential skills. When the school year starts up again, it will be hard to get them back into the habit of doing their homework. While you might not want to make your kids do worksheets or other things that look like school work, you can establish good habits during the summer by having a work period. During this time, kids can read books for pleasure, play games that help with math facts or do some science projects. If you do this at the same time you’d expect them to do homework, it will be easy to get them to do their work during the school year.

Serving Healthy Snacks and Meals (on a schedule)

Parents often joke about how frequently their kids ask for snacks during the summertime. Some of it is about requiring more energy for all the active play they’re getting, but sometimes it’s about boredom. Constant snacking won’t be possible during school hours, so it’s smart to get kids into the habit of eating healthy foods at regular intervals the way that they will have to eat and snack while at school. Carefully plan meal and snack times – follow the school’s schedule if you can – so that your kids aren’t constantly grazing.

Healthy Habits to Make Before School Starts Mom Kid ImageLimiting Electronics

A lot of kids overindulge in electronic usage over the summer and other school breaks. There’s a growing body of research that indicates that this usage can lead to short attention spans (at least when it comes to “boring” work) and other behaviour issues. If the kids have had the freedom to do whatever they want during the summer, it’s time to start reducing the amount of time they spend in front of the screens.

Encouraging Self-Care

If your kids are old enough to be in school, they’re old enough to start taking on some of their own chores. For instance, you could start by showing them how to pack their own lunches. A good way to do this is to have separate containers that have things like proteins, carbs, and dairy products, then have them pick one or two choices from each. Kids can also take some responsibility for dressing themselves and keeping their things organized.

Creating a Landing Pad

When kids get home from school, you want them to have a routine that involves putting things in the proper place. Get ready for school by creating a landing pad. This is like a locker or cubby area where each person can hang up their things. Bags go on a hook. Jackets get hung. Lunch boxes come out of the backpacks and go into the kitchen. Homework goes up to the bedroom and papers for parents go to a parent. Set this system up during the summer and have kids practice using it.

Most kids respond well to routines, but those routines tend to get thrown out the door in the more relaxed atmosphere of summer. If you start getting your kids into the routines they’ll follow through the year, you’ll be able to minimize the troubles that usually come at the beginning of the school year.{{cta(‘396afe6d-eb66-4f0c-9685-6de24a904aa0′,’justifycenter’)}}

Photo credit: school bus, alarm clock, mom kid
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