As the kids get ready to go back to school we spend so much time getting them organized, making sure they have everything needed on the school supplies list, new backpacks, new lunch bags, new thermos bottles, and of course- a brand-new outfit to wear on the first day! But have we spent enough time making sure that we are doing all that we can to be healthy in this new school year? Here are 4 ways and we can all use to make sure we are sending healthy kids back to school!
#1- Start Off with a Balanced “Power Breakfast”
It is so important that kids have a good, healthy, balanced, breakfast in their tummies before they board that school bus. So no matter how sleepy they are at breakfast, or how much they insist that they aren't hungry yet- I always make sure that they each eat some sort of a breakfast. Fruit smoothies that they make themselves are big at our house. So are healthy whole-grain cereals, eggs, whole grain toast with peanut butter or nutella, or even a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola. And there have been times when I've put their breakfast into a “to-go” container to finish eating while waiting for the bus….. the bottom line- it is much harder to learn what is being taught in the classroom if your tummy is rumbling and you know you are hungry.
#2- Get Enough Sleep
This one is a doozy- especially as kids get older and head off to middle school. Their after school activities tend to start later and don't end until the early evening. Then often there is still dinner to eat, homework to be done, and before you know it- your middle schooler is heading to bed at 11 o'clock, and they have to get up at 6 AM- which is only 7 hours of sleep- not nearly enough for a growing pre-teen. So the key is trying to make sure the kids get their homework done ahead of time- before sports practice, maybe even serve them an early dinner before they leave, followed by a healthy snack (or mini-meal) on the way home from practice, so they can just take a quick shower and get to bed before 9:30 or 10.
And even elementary school-age kids who just insist at 8pm that they are not tired- they still need a good 9-10 hours of sleep every single night. So the key is sticking to that bed time and creating a quiet atmosphere so that they can fall asleep.
it's really easy when your kids come home from school to allow them to grab a snack and park themselves in front of the TV for an hour to decompress. After that- there's homework to do, dinner to prepare and before you know it the afternoon and early evening is gone, and you realize that you've just been relying on recess and gym class to make sure that your kids have had enough exercise during the day. So it's really important to be mindful about making sure that your kids have some time to play outside and get some heart-healthy activity after school.
#4- Keep Up with Those Doctors Appointments
I feel sometimes that running kids to their doctors appointments is another part-time job for me. Annual physicals, twice yearly trips to the dentist, eye exams, plus the slew of specialists such as allergists- my calendar is packed! I try to fit as many of these visits in over the summer so that I minimize how often I need to pull my kids out of school. Which means that during the last few weeks, I've had 2-3 doctors appointments each week- making sure my kids teeth are clean, getting their eyeglass prescriptions updated, and making sure that we have the medications that we need to send the school for allergy prevention. It's exhausting- but it's so important to stay on top of this!
iVillage has some tips on raising healthy kids. But I would love to hear what are you doing to make sure that your kids are healthy as they head back to school…..
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of iVillage
. The opinions and text are all mine.