We’re nearing the end of August and heading into fall. School has started back up–or will be starting back up–or may not be starting in-person, or it might be in-person, OR OR OR… Needless to say, this is the most disruptive school year we’ve ever collectively experienced. One thing we can do right now, besides staying flexible and positive, is making an intentional effort for good back to school routines (even if your school is virtual).
Once we get behind and feel overwhelmed, our nutrition and workouts are often some of the first things that get tossed out the window–often on the way through the drive-thru. Keep on top of this year now by getting scheduled, getting organized, and getting ready to make it a great school year.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
It’s pretty common to let kids stay up later during the summer (and to do the same yourself). When the sun is still bright at bedtime, it’s much harder to wind down. However, if you and your family have not made the adjustment into better sleeping schedules, you want to get started.
“Most experts agree that children need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep each night to be at their best, while 8 hours is the absolute minimum.” For kids that need to be up at 6 am, they need to be asleep by 8 pm-9 pm. And, honestly, some nights, that’s going to be impossible. With extra-curricular activities, especially sports, you may not be able to get home every night and in bed by 9.
But, the sooner you can get on a routine and the better you can stick with it will make those off nights a little easier for your children.
Set A Good Evening Routine
- Pick out clothes for the next day.
- Choose times for baths, final snacks, and teeth brushed.
- Leave time for settling down. (Allow time for reading, writing, or even a short video will ease that transition time.)
- Establish a set bedtime with lights-out. For children old enough/ responsible enough, they can be allowed to read quietly and turn their lights off themselves. However, if you have a kiddo that will dive into a book and stay up all night, then you may need to go back and remind them to actually get some sleep.
Get Your Morning Started
Morning routines are similar to evening routines, in that we need to do basically the same things each morning to get ready for school and work. Doing these things at the same time and in the same order will feel logical and establish a good routine.
- Buy an alarm clock for your children.
- Create a mental (or physical) “to-do list” for them that includes the order to get ready: eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, don’t forget lunch, re-pack Chromebooks that have been charging, etc. (Do the same routine even if you don’t leave the house– you still need to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and get logged into class).
- If you have a child that doesn’t eat breakfast, find something of nutritional value they can consume easily, such as a protein and vitamin shake or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Bonus points if it can be prepared the night before.) It can be a long time until lunch, they need the protein, carbs, and other nutrients to hold them over.
A routine is going to be especially important this year when so many other aspects of life are out of our control. Get into good habits, get plenty of rest, and make sure to take LOTS of device breaks and get some movement in throughout the day.