Summer seems to come to a screeching halt once school is in session, which can be a difficult transition for the whole family. In order to ease the shift from sleep overs, lazy beach days and ice cream before dinner, to a back-to-school, fall routine, follow these tips for a healthy, successful school year for the whole family.
First and foremost, sleep is one of the most essential aspects of remaining healthy. The right amount of sleep can ease stress and make you better prepared to begin refreshed once that alarm goes off. A few weeks before school begins, set a bedtime slightly little earlier each night until everyone is back on their typical sleep schedules. According to Atlanta cardiologist David E. Montgomery, MD, young children should be clocking 12 hours of sleep while teenagers should be getting roughly 9 hours of sleep and adults should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. By using this gauge, you can get everyone better prepared for the start of a new school year.
Summer dinners can be simple, throw a few things on the grill here or eat pizza for dinner there; when you are transitioning back into everyone’s sports schedules, doctors’ appointments or other activities, the best way to prepare for the chaos is to prep your meals for the week. On the weekend, take a few hours to shop and prepare for the week ahead. You can even begin during the summer by preparing bulk meals which can be stored in the freezer and easily reheated on busier nights during the week.
Meal Prep Tip
There are a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables available locally during the summer. Spend some time on Saturday morning with the family and visit a local farmers market. Involve your kids in the process of choosing what they would like to prepare so they can get excited about eating what they have foraged. Fresh vegetables always make for great soup add ins in the fall or big batches of homemade pasta sauce can be made into quick and healthy meals throughout the year, you can even involve your kids in that process as well. Muffins are great reheated throughout the week and make simple, grab-and-go breakfast options. Preparing snacks or meals before also allows you the benefit of controlling the amount of sugars or ingredients that go into meals.
Begin a family calendar with everyone’s appointments, extracurricular activities, and even schedule in family time on the weekends so everyone knows who is going where and when time is meant for family. Even begin a fall chore chart that your kids can maintain throughout the year. It’s never too late to start them on simple chores that will also help you through the transition back into the fall.
Making sure that everyone is active every day will help your family stay fit. Visiting the park for dinner while the weather is still enjoyable, going swimming at a local indoor pool or even making a chore out of walking the family dog before or after school will help them develop lifelong habits of remaining active as they grow.
Limiting the Use of Electronics
Summer can make your children more apt to have more time for fun. In order to bring them back to their routine, start just as you did with their sleep schedule and slowly ween them off media time. This will allow them to switch their focus back to their school work or extracurricular activities. When school is back in session it is easy to forget the energy and liveliness we have in the summer.
Try to always foster the summer’s energy by helping your children to pursue interests other than school learning and help them find activities that fill them up. Always remain ahead of the game by focusing on preparation and organization, although it takes a little time, it will help the whole family develop healthy, long-term habits.