Summer is ending, and it’s almost for your kids to head back to school! As you prepare with brand-new supplies, backpacks, books, and after-school activities, keep in mind what your children need for a happy, healthy year. Planning ahead with appropriate bedtimes, lessons on personal hygiene, healthy snacks, nutritious meals, and regular physical activity can keep you sane and your kids healthy at school.
Here are five healthy back-to-school tips that will help your kiddos have a great year!
1. Set bedtimes.
A good night’s rest is important for kids—and adults—to feel focused, energized, and well-rested all day long. While sleep requirements do vary for adults—between seven to nine hours each night—all children need over eight hours to give their bodies the time they need to grow big, strong, and healthy!
Your children likely stayed up a bit later during the summer nights, but you can help them ease back into a school-night bedtime. To prepare your kids to get up early, start moving their bedtime earlier for a week or two before the school year begins. A regular routine is important for young kids, so don’t shift their schedule too quickly and avoid late nights on the weekends.
2. Teach good hygiene habits.
Germs are everywhere, but there are a couple of easy steps you can take to show your children proper hygiene habits. Keep your kids healthy—and prevent the germs from entering your home—by teaching them the importance of washing their hands after using the restroom and before eating lunch or a snack!
Sharing is caring, except when it comes to bacteria! Kids are germ magnets, so washing their hands may not be enough. Before they head to school, instruct your kids not to share their food or drinks with other children to avoid spreading sickness through the class.
3. Make a nutritious breakfast.
You know what they say! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, breakfast can start your morning in a nutritious and delicious way. Avoid sugar-packed cereals or breakfast bars and reach for yogurt, fruit, or oatmeal instead.
Your kids imitate your behavior, so it’s important to eat—and encourage your kids to eat—a healthy and nutritious breakfast that is full of the nutrients you need to keep you fuller longer and start your day on a healthy foot.
4. Pack your pantry with healthy snacks.
Junk food and other pre-made snacks may be an easy go-to for early morning rushes and quick lunch packing, but they aren’t ideal for a healthy diet. Instead of setting an earlier alarm and missing more sleep, make your life easier by preparing simple snacks like fruits, veggies, and lean meats on the weekend. Saturdays and Sundays are also great times to stock up on these nutritious snacks and lunch items, so you’ll be prepared throughout the week.
Organize your refrigerator to make lunch prep a breeze in your before-school rush. Divide snacks into small baggies that are easy to grab and make up a healthy lunch your kids can put together themselves. You can also use food containers to pack dinner leftovers in simple meals to grab on the go.
5. Get moving!
Physical fitness is important at all ages! Whether your kids love swimming, soccer, football, baseball, or any number of other activities, simply getting them up and moving is key to teaching them about exercise and helping them find new hobbies they love.
Youth sports are a fantastic way for kids to make friends, learn about teamwork, and burn off extra energy. Find activities your kids will love by enrolling them in programs at their school or local YMCA. And while extracurriculars are important, make sure you leave your child enough time for homework, sleep, and free time to destress at the end of the day. After-school care is a great option for working parents to make sure their kids are staying safe and getting their homework done before you pick them up for the evening.
This school year will be packed with fun experiences, new friends, and activities for your kids! These back-to-school tips can help you and your family nurture healthy habits and spend quality time together. Get ready to make this the best year ever!
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.