Back-to-school season is a busy time for most families, as everyone struggles to get used to their new, packed schedules. This can make it difficult to build and keep up with good habits, but it’s also a time during which many good habits can pay off the most. Building the right habits can help you and your kids to be better rested, more energetic, and healthier, even during the busiest parts of the season. Here are a few tips that will help your family power through the school year with energy to spare.
Eat a filling, healthy breakfast.
Your children don’t get to pick their lunchtimes, so if they don’t get a filling breakfast, they’re often stuck sitting in class with a growling stomach. This can make it incredibly difficult for your kids to concentrate on their lessons and schoolwork, and if it happens regularly, they could even suffer academically. To keep them happy and focused during school, you should ensure that your whole family gets a healthy, filling breakfast each morning; something high in protein and fiber is usually a good bet. This practice will even benefit you, as it will likely help you snack less throughout the day. Eating breakfast together in the morning, if possible, is also a great way to get some family time at the beginning of the day.
Pack a healthy lunch for your kids.
What we eat throughout the day affects our energy levels and has an impact on our overall health. As a general rule, your child’s lunch—and yours, if you bring a lunch to work—should contain a protein, a fruit, and a vegetable. The vitamins and nutrients in these foods provide an energy boost to help you and your child through the rest of your day, and your child will learn great nutritional habits that they’ll benefit from for their entire lives.
Many healthy foods are also great for your oral hygiene, so slipping a food that’s good for your teeth into your lunch is very easy! Yogurt is packed with calcium, protein, and good bacteria that act as competition for the bad bacteria in your mouth, making it great for your teeth. Apples, pears, cucumbers, and melons are a great natural source of fluoride and are high in minerals and water content, which helps keep your enamel strong. There are so many teeth-healthy choices that you’re sure to find plenty of variety for your family’s lunches.
Try to limit stress.
Stress can make our immune systems weaker, and your child may struggle to keep up with their schoolwork if they are under a lot of stress. While it can be difficult to reduce your family’s stress levels during the busy school season, there are a few things you can do to limit it. Involving your children in some extracurricular activities can be a great source of exercise and fun for your children, but try to make sure that there isn’t too much on their plate—for them or for you! Less stress will help everyone feel better rested and in a good mood, and you can spend time you might otherwise have been ferrying your children to endless soccer practices as relaxing family time.
Spend time together as a family.
It’s so easy to fall into such a busy routine during the school year that all you want to do at the end of the day is fall into bed. Despite all your busy schedules, it’s important to purposefully set aside time to spend together as a family. Plan on having a family dinner every night; this is a great way to stay in touch with what’s going on with your kids and spouse. You can also try nailing down a weekly game or movie night, something for you to do as a family that will get you engaged and allow you to have a good time together. This helps you to feel closer to one another and often helps the stress of the week slide right off your back.
Build good oral hygiene habits.
You should work on building good oral hygiene habits as a family. This is as important for you as it is for your teenager or your little ones. If you have young children, you can get them interested in brushing their teeth by doing it together or incorporating music or another activity that motivates them to enjoy the routine. Proper care is just as important for baby teeth as it is for adult teeth, and starting them on a routine early will help them build habits that they can take into adulthood, keeping them healthier.
These oral hygiene routines are just as important for the benefit of your own health and as they are for your children’s. If you share food or drinks with your kids, cavity-causing bacteria can spread from your mouth to theirs, so it’s crucial that you are as careful with your own oral hygiene as you are with theirs.
Take steps to keep your children healthy.
During the school year, it’s common for the flu, colds, or other illnesses to make their rounds among kids, often spreading like wildfire. Although there are exemptions for religious or medical reasons, most children need to have certain vaccinations, such as for polio and measles, in order to attend public school. These vaccines are an important part of protecting your child from illness; it’s also essential in protecting children who can’t be vaccinated. These children rely on herd immunity in order to remain healthy.
To protect both your child and other children in the school, it’s important for you to make sure your child is up-to-date on all of their vaccines, including the flu vaccine, before the new school year starts.The flu vaccine doesn’t become fully effective until two weeks after your child received the shot, so it’s important to get them vaccinated before there’s an outbreak at their school; this will decrease the likelihood that they get sick. Additionally, impress upon younger children the importance of washing their hands often, not eating food from the floor, and other hygienic practices. Together, vaccines and good hygiene should reduce the chance of your child getting sick.
Make sure your family gets enough sleep.
It can be difficult to ensure that everyone in your house gets enough sleep each night, especially once kids get old enough to rebel against the nightly routine. Getting enough sleep is important for your health, however, and not getting enough can impact your children’s performance in school. It’s a good idea to set a bedtime, preferably early enough that you can have a little bit of a breather before heading to bed yourself. Do the math and get an idea for how much sleep your child is getting with the bedtime you set, as children of different ages need different amounts of sleep. Children between the ages of six and 13 need nine to 11 hours of sleep per night, for example, while teenagers need around eight to 10 hours of sleep.
While the start of a new school year brings a full schedule and no end of errands to run, there are plenty of good habits you can pick up that will keep your family healthy, happy, and as well-rested and stress-free as possible. Together, these habits can help the school year go more smoothly,and some may even help bring your family closer together in the process.