We’re nearing the end of summer break and heading back into fall schedules. School is starting in the next two to three weeks, extra-curricular activities will be started soon, and sports practices have already begun. Whether you have one child or six, or you work on a school schedule (teachers, administrators, school nurses, daycare workers, etc..), this is the time of year to establish a good routine.
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.
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 8pm-9pm. 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.
- Pick out clothes for the next day.
- Choose times for baths, final snacks, and teeth brushed.
- Leave time for a 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.
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.
- 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 a 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.
- Pack everyone (yourself too!) a reusable water bottle, especially for kids that will be walking home from school or a bus stop. This summer heat has been brutal, and it looks like there will be no relief in August. Be safe and stay hydrated.