Summer is coming to a close and soon children will be back in school. Over the summer, most children have very different routines than when they are in school. For example, in the summer children may go to bed later and rise later than they do during the school year. Some children may have different meal schedules during the summer. Once the school year begins, children must wake up earlier, eat breakfast earlier, and complete homework on a daily basis.
To help children make an easy transition back into the school year, parents may want to consider trying the following a week or two before school begins:
1) Re-establish a school bedtime routine. Children require lots of rest during the school year; at least nine hours of sleep. Children need to relax and wind down before their bedtime. Reading a book before going to bed vs. watching TV or playing computer games will help accomplish this. The public library is a great place to find fun books to read!
2) Re-establish a homework time. Even though children do not have homework yet, think about asking them to sit down at a desk or table for 30 minutes to do some type of quiet activity like reading, coloring etc. This will help your children know that there will be the expectation of focusing on homework when school starts.
3) Set limits on screen time. Limiting your child to one hour of screen time before school begins will help you avoid arguments once school is under way.
4) Encourage your child to exercise. One hour of physical activity on a daily basis is recommended for children. Daily exercise will help them focus better in school and promote good health! In hot weather, be sure your child keeps hydrated with plenty of water.
5) Plan ahead for nutritious breakfasts and lunch. Involve your child in planning for what he/she will eat for breakfast and lunches when school starts. Discuss the importance of including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy at meals.
6) Help your child get excited about school! Shopping for supplies or a new outfit for school can be one way to accomplish this. Share fun experiences that you had when you were young.
Education is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Think about how you can best help your child get ready and be successful in school!
Resources for breakfast and lunch ideas:
For further information or resources, contact your Family Consumer Sciences agent at your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office.