Summer is the time for sun and fun as well as, loosey-goosey schedules for the whole family. Then, before you know it, it’s time to set the alarm and get back-to-school. Sure you’ve got all the supplies bought, but are you really ready for that first day? There are some simple things you can do to ease the transition to start the new school year off right before that alarm sounds:
- Get back to a regular sleep and early bedtime schedule at least one week before the first day of school.
- Just like a good sleep routine, regular mealtimes are also important to re-establish a week before school starts. It’s essential that breakfast include protein to keep you going throughout the day. Dinner is ideal between 5-7pm. It’s best for your stomach to have time to fully digest your meal before heading to bed.
- Turn-off the electronics one hour before going to bed. That will tell your brain it’s time for sleep, which will cause your body to start producing melatonin (the sleep hormone). If your child likes to read in bed, have them read an old-fashioned book rather than an electronic reader.
- Pack energy-supporting whole food lunches and snacks the night before instead of sugary or processed snacks. Set yourself up for success by prepping veggies once a week and storing them in the fridge where you can grab and pack them in seconds. Snacks such as hummus and carrots or an apple with nut butter are great choices.
- Hydration is essential. So, how much water do you need? I suggest about ½ your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, then 50 oz. of water is a good estimate.
- The first day of school can often cause a bit of anxiety. Check-in with your child to see how they’re feeling. Let them express their fears and anxieties without trying to diminish them or problem solve. Something that both you and your child can do when you are feeling a bit anxious or unsettled is place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly and breathe deeply.
- Get back to basics with hygiene. Hand-washing is the simplest way to avoid catching colds and flues. Teach your kids to thoroughly soap-up their hands (and between their fingers) while singing a full round of “Happy Birthday.” So lather-up and sing away.
- Take time the night before the first day to organize. Have your kids pack their backpacks and leave them at the door for easy access and have them choose and layout their outfit to save time.
Helping the family get ready to transition from having a no routine to having a regular routine can be simple when you start about a week before. Check-in with your kids and ask them how they think they can help. You may be surprised with their ideas and suggestions. Incorporating them into the process will help them feel ownership and willingness to participate. Taking the week before will give you all the space you need to gracefully move into a comfortable daily routine so that on the first day, everyone easily adjusts and hopefully goes out-the-door feeling calm and happy.
Donna Parker is Certified in Integrative Nutrition and is a certified Health Coach who supports patients in making healthy lifestyle changes. She helps busy people work toward a healthier lifestyle using low glycemic eating and nutritional supplements that result in increased vitality and health. Visit Donna at www.HealthCoachDonna.com for more information.