Back to school season provides a prime opportunity to introduce new routines and increase responsibilities. Kids are often excited for a fresh start and eager to stretch a bit outside their comfort zone.
Here are some parenting goals to consider as we head into a new year.
1. Get on Schedule
Getting off on the right foot actually starts well before the first day. Longer days and lack of routine often make summer sleep schedules unpredictable, and clever parents start adjusting sleep schedules in the weeks leading up to school. (Full disclosure, I’ve never had much success getting on the school schedule before the year starts. I enjoy our lazy mornings too much. Nevertheless, it’s a smart idea.)
2. Prioritize Sleep
shows that too little sleep causes serious physical and mental health problems for children. Lack of sleep contributes to bad moods, sickness, depression, and even obesity. It has been documented in a handful of major studies that children, from elementary school through high school, get about an hour less sleep each night than they did 30 years ago. Just an extra 15 minutes of sleep can boost attention span, grades and overall daily well-being.
3. Add a New Chore
What baby step is your child ready to tackle? If they are bringing their dishes to the sink after dinner, they could load the dishwasher. If they throw their dirty clothes in the hamper, they could carry them to the laundry area for sorting.
4. Build Your Lunch Arsenal
Need new backpacks, lunch boxes, containers, and water bottles? It’s easy to spend a solid chunk of change just getting your kids out the door. Save a bundle by purchasing quality items that are more durable and taking advantage of seasonal sales.
5. Pack Healthy Lunches
Even if your school offers a “healthy menu,” children are prone to choosing chocolate milk and dessert over fresh fruit and vegetables. u*do*lunch
teaches kids to Plan, Purchase, Prepare, and Pack their own lunches. Personal experience shows that kids are more likely to eat a healthy, well balanced lunch if they have some skin in the game.
6. Schedule a Surprise Visit
If your school permits lunchtime visitors, make a plan to drop in unannounced after a few weeks of school. The look on your child’s face will be priceless.
For this month’s Walk the Walk, start a conversation with your children about their back to school routine.
- Are they feeling excited or anxious?
- What new responsibilities would they like to tackle this year?
- How can you work together to make lunchtime less stressful and more nutritious?
As always, encourage them to Walk the Walk — one step at a time.
Until Next Time,