Summer is a great time for serious play and relaxation. Many of us use the longer, warmer days of summer to rebuild our reserves for the rest of the year. However, for many children, the abrupt change in routine, as summer ends and school begins, can be quite taxing on their bodies.
Certainly make the most of these beautiful days, but check out the reminders below to help ease the transition from the lazy, hazy days of summer to falling back into the school groove...
1. Begin each day with a glass of water. Make this a habit with your children for many reasons. This simple ritual will begin the hydration process for your eager student as well as start their day off with a non-sugary drink. If your child is used to beginning the day with juice, try diluting the juice. Start by adding-in a little water and then gradually add more water and less juice. It’s easy for kids to turn their noses up at plain water when they’re used to sugar-infused beverages. Be patient and keep at it!
2. Sit down for a healthy breakfast. Nothing new here. However, in the summer months, sometimes breakfast is blurred with lunch or eaten in front of the television. Instead, enjoy a hearty breakfast of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cage free eggs, etc. at the table. Stay away from the highly processed, high sugar trap. Starting the day with healthy food will give your young adventurer the nutrients and energy needed for a day full of activity and learning. Mindful eating will teach your student the value of a healthy meal and how to be more aware of what foods fuel him/her best. This is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced.
3. Shake the screen time. One of the many joys and conveniences for today’s students is technology. It’s a means to communicate with each, learn for school and entertain themselves. What a fun convenience! The problem is when is enough, enough? A good place to begin is in the evening. Research shows that screens (TVs, phones, computers, etc) should be shut down 1-2 hours before bedtime to promote the best sleep. Instead of being glued to technology in the evening, have your star student start a new routine; pack lunches for the next day, play a game, read, walk the dog, etc.? Find something that can be both fun and relaxing for your student and family.
4. Build a bedtime. Yikes! One of the biggest joys for children during the summer days are relaxed bed and wake times. Now is the time to start getting your gang back into the swing of things. Remember, school age children need plenty of rest to grow and recharge. It’s recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, that kids ages 5-12 get 10-11 hours of sleep each night. With the increasing demands on their time from sports and school, this can be challenging. By establishing a bedtime and a routine (see tip 3 above) before lights out, it will be much easier for your child to unwind and experience a restful night and wake feeling refreshed and excited to take on the day!