Starting School The Easy Healthy Way
Jan 21, 2017
Most Australian kids start back at school or kindy next week. After the long summer holidays, getting back into the swing of things can be tough! So we've got some helpful ideas to get your kids started out on the right foot.
A week before they start back, get kids into their routine. Waking up early is hard after long, lazy sleep ins over the school holidays. Start them back into the sleep routine early, and the first day and week won't be so hard. If they're used to getting to bed really late over the holidays, introduce earlier times gradually. So if it's 10.30 every night at the moment, make it 10.00 tonight. Tomorrow night it could be 9.30, then 9.00, and so on. You'll have them back in bed at 7.30 within a week. The same goes for getting up in the morning. Getting them up just 15 minutes earlier each day will help them adjust more easily to the 6.30 am wakeups for school days!
Plenty of exercise
Get them outside and doing plenty of exercise during the last couple of weeks of school holidays. They'll be tired, and more likely to nod off to sleep at a regular time. It's also a good way to start weaning them off the electronics now. If you're anything like me, by the end of the holidays you're pretty much willing to let them play on those things as much as they want as long as they'll just. give. you. some. peace. But you need to bite the bullet and start reinforcing the hours that they'll be allowed during term time. Distracting them with outside play is a great way to start cutting down on screen hours now.
Switch off electronics at least an hour before bed
Getting kids to sleep at a reasonable hour is easier if they're physically tired. It's also easier if they switch off electronics and blue light sources at least an hour before bedtime. Research shows that using interactive technology like mobile phones and computer games in the hour before bed causes kids to go to sleep later, and don't sleep as well. Remove the electronics, and kids will go to sleep more easily, and wake up refreshed.
Get meal times back into routine
Get them back into a meal time routine. If they're going to have to eat breakfast at 7.00 am each morning before school, start working towards that now. Morning tea break at 10.00? Lunch at 12.30? Move your meal times to coincide with school ones. Kids will know what to expect, and they'll be hungry at the right times, too. They're more likely to eat your carefully prepared meals when their bodies are expecting them!
Start planning healthy breakfasts
Start planning good breakfasts, preferably with a balance of proteins and fats. That will keep kids full, and able to concentrate through until lunch. Studies show that children who eat breakfast have better behavioural and cognitive functions at school. They're much more able to concentrate on the task at hand, and actually learn things when they've got a good breakfast inside them. Research also seems to show that kids' behaviour is better, too. I love to have a few breakfast things in the freezer for grab and go on busy mornings. My eldest hates eating breakfast, so he can grab one of these, head out the door and eat it on the bus on the way to school.
Get a start on lunches
Plan ahead and get some lunch box additions made. If you're seeking inspiration, there's some great freezable lunch box ideas over at Planning with Kids. The chicken and rice patties are a particular favourite in our house!