Navigating the on-the-go back-to-school grind can be a challenging one. We have a couple of tips to help you get in the grove. Hold onto your hats! It’s back-to-school time. Here come school drop-offs and pick-ups, practices and playdates, help with homework and school board meetings. With all that, it can be easy to lose any sense of a schedule. But taking some time in the evenings to reconnect and prep for the coming day is a great way to keep your sanity and keep your kids on-the-move.
Enjoy a meal together.
Sitting down at the the dinner table as a family has been shown to have numerous benefits. First, it can create a sense of security for children; it can help them understand the support system they have. Second, it’s a great opportunity for conversation without the typical distractions like phones, computers, and television. A family meal can help your child become a better listener and overall communicator. And third, family dinners encourage healthy eating. Research has shown that families who eat together have higher intakes of fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be seven nights a week, but sitting down together and sharing a meal is a short term and long term win.
Avoid sugar overload.
Once school starts, it’s particularly important for our kids to get an adequate amount of sleep each night. They’ll need to be well rested to focus and perform well in school. Don’t let sugar get in the way of that. Avoid super sugary treats before bed, like candy and ice cream. This doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert altogether, but rather opt to eat dessert earlier (a few hours before bed) and choose healthier options that aren’t packed with artificial sugar. Grilled fruit or even this Berry Watermelon Peach Salad are great choices packed with vitamins. Bonus: the natural sugars in fruit can at least tame that sweet tooth.
Pack your bags.
Pack your kids lunches for them? Great. Make them pack their own? Great. Whatever your technique at-school nutrition, the best way to ensure that everyone (including you!) walks out the door with a nourishing lunch and snack option is to plan ahead. If there aren’t sugary, salty, un-healthy options in the house, no one is going to school and work with sugary, salty, un-healthy options. And if you all make your lunches before bed, you just might save yourself a few minutes in the morning.
They might fight you on this one, especially as they get older, but establishing a bedtime routine for school nights is important. It should generally come at least an hour after dinner is over, allowing a little time to digest, wind down, and make the mental transition towards rest. Bedtime can also be a wonderful opportunity to share some one-on-one time with your child. Maybe even consider making the hour or so before sleep tech-free. It will help both you and them get a sounder, healthier night’s rest. For more tips on how to get a great night’s sleep, read 5 Tips for Better Sleep.