Back-to-School Health Routine Round-Up
Back-to-School Health Routine Round-Up
Back-to-school can be an exciting time for kids. It can also be stressful and exhausting as their routine changes, they make new friends, and they are under pressure to learn new information. All of these changes can lead to illness and chronic health issues in kids if not managed carefully. They can also lead to frustrated, exhausted parents who are struggling through these issues with their kids on a daily basis.
The key to keeping the back-to-school blahs under control is planning out healthy routines before school starts and having them ready to put into action on the first day. This will ease kids back into school with a predictable, healthy routine to follow, rather than reacting to the chaos around them. While every child and every family are different, there are some practices you can put in place to help manage the stress of all the changes your kids are facing.
Use this guide to create before-school, after-school, and bedtime routines to set your kids up for back-to-school success!
Set for Success: Before-School Routine
The morning routine for kids can be tough. Most kids don’t like to get up early, and it can be an especially difficult adjustment if they’ve been sleeping in over the summer. Avoid early morning arguments and nagging to make everyone’s day start off better. Follow these tips to make the morning run smoothly and start the day off right for you and your kids:
- Have a set time your child needs to be up by in order to get out the door for school.
- Greet kids with a positive attitude in the morning to start their day off in the right mindset.
- Avoid sugary foods for breakfast so that kids don’t crash too early at school.
- Brush teeth after breakfast and before going to school to reinforce proper hygiene.
- Prevent lagging by having a no TV policy until the kids are dressed and ready to go.
- Review the after-school schedule with your child so that their expectations are set and they aren’t worrying about it through the day.
Power Through: After-School Routine
After-school routines will vary greatly depending on the specific situation of each family. Extra-curricular activities for kids and work schedules for parents will play a big role in the after-school routine. However, there are still several important tasks that serve as the pillars of after-school routines.
- Provide a healthy after-school snack such as fruit, nuts, or vegetables to keep kids’ energy levels up after school and ready for homework and playtime.
- Allow time for your child to unwind for a bit after school. They’ve been under the pressure of a schedule all day long, so give them the space to do something they enjoy that helps them relax.
- Set a time and designate a space for kids to do their homework after school. The time will vary for each child depending on their extra-curricular activities, but have a set plan and stick to it, regardless of when it is.
- Discuss their day and ask them if they need any help from you. Staying in the loop with what’s going on with your kids at school every day will help eliminate surprises and stress.
- Plan a healthy dinner that kids can rely on to refuel from a long day. Parents can’t always control what kids eat when they are at school or with their friends, but you can control the healthy dinner you put on the table each night.
Finish Strong: Bedtime Routine
The back-to-school season can have a big impact on sleep routines for kids. They may have gotten used to staying up later during the summer, and have trouble adjusting to an earlier bedtime. They may also have trouble winding down for bed after a busy day and need the routine to give them closure.
Establishing a bedtime routine will make your children’s sleep more consistent and restful. It will also help avoid an argument from an over-tired kid who wants to stay up late. Here are tips to get your kids to bed on time and ready for the next day:
- Start the bedtime routine by checking assignments and homework to make sure everything is done. Then help your child prepare their backpack, sports uniforms, school supplies, etc. for the next day and set it in a designated staging area.
- Next is bath time, pajamas, and teeth brushing. You may need to monitor this closely as children tend to lollygag and put off bedtime.
- Pick out clothes for the next day down to every detail. Let your kids be a part of this process and help with choosing and laying out their outfit.
- Read to your kids or have them read to you. This is a quiet, relaxing activity that you can do in bed with your kids to prepare them for sleep.
- Get kids to bed on time. It is paramount that bedtime is consistent. Setting expectations for kids will eliminate arguments and attempts to negotiate a later bedtime.
Back-to-school is a time of change for kids that requires parents be supportive and predictable to guide them through. The transition from the freedom of summer to the long, structured days at school brings changes in everything from social interaction, concentration, and stress to activity level, food and sleep for you and your kids. Set them up with a solid routine and set them up for success!
If your child has specific needs or is struggling more than normal with their transition back to school, contact your Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups doctor. They can work with you to put together a plan that will meet your kids’ back-to-school health needs.