Congratulations! You and your children have made it through the first few weeks of school. The schedules are filling up quickly and hopefully everyone seems to be finding the rhythm of their routines. Here are a few tips to ensuring you and your family experience a healthy and happy school year.
1. PLANNING AHEAD
By having an organized schedule of the week ahead you will ensure you and your children are accomplishing all that lies before you. Turning in homework on time, making it to soccer practice, and spending time together as a family are all important, and when you have everything on a calendar it helps to visually see what’s coming up next. Planning meals also helps to organise a grocery list, which means spending less time wandering around the aisles and more time providing healthy, delicious meals for the family. Enlist your children to help pack their lunches and snacks the night before, make sure they have clean clothes for the next day, and keep their bedrooms tidy for lessened chaos in the morning rush. Planning ahead will give you more time to spend enjoying the fun parts of life and will remove the stress of playing the ‘catch up’ game every week.
2. HEALTH IS ESSENTIAL
Physical health is of the utmost importance in ensuring you and your children have a successful school year. Make sure to enforce early bedtimes so that precious sleep is not forfeited. When we sleep our bodies are actually physically repairing themselves from the rigors of the day. Immune health is important for fighting all of the germs and bacteria our children come in to contact with every day at school. Eating a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables gives our bodies many of the immune boosting vitamins we need to help fight off sickness. Ask your children what vegetables they would like to see on the dinner table, and encourage them to be apart of preparing meals for the family. Also remind your children to wash their hands throughout the day and especially as soon as they get home from school.
3. PLAYTIME IS PRODUCTIVE
We all need breaks in our day and during the week from the demands of our jobs and family responsibilities, and our children are no different. If downtime isn’t occurring naturally in your family plan it out if you have to. Children need to relax, read a favorite book, watch a movie, play with friends, or get outside and ride bikes or play a sport. When we ‘demand’ too much out of our children’s schedules we can turn enjoyable events into obligations and take the fun out of something that was meant to be enjoyed. Physical activity is essential to keeping our bodies and minds healthy and happy, so make sure it’s apart of your week.
4. DON’T NEGLECT FAMILY TIME
Sometimes life seems to rush on by us and before we know it weeks have gone by without any quality time spent listening to or talking with our children. When we really listen to our child’s account of their day, their difficulties with friends, or their anxieties about an upcoming test we are communicating that they are important and that their problems are significant to us. This will create an open and trusting relationship with our children, one where they know they can come to us when serious issues drop into their lives. It doesn’t all have to be serious business though. Make plenty of time for game nights, bike rides, reading aloud, and serving others together as a family. Time spent well with your family is the best investment you can make.
As you continue on in your year remember to shower each other with lots of love and loads of grace. We are all learning and growing together, and we need each other to foster a sense of community and togetherness. Here’s to the healthiest and happiest school year yet!