Summertime is quickly coming to an end and it’s time to start getting our kids ready to go back to school. Some parents are overjoyed at this time of year, ready to get back to school routines and saving money on childcare costs.  Other parents are more stressed as it means extra work in the evenings helping their children with their homework. However you feel about your child going back to school, there are some important things to consider to help your child do their best this school year.

Bedtime

We hear it time and time again, but getting adequate sleep is so important for everyone, but especially children.  Think about how you feel in the morning when you don’t get enough sleep and it’s not surprising that it can be a struggle to get your kids to wake up in the morning.  They don’t even get to look forward to a cup of coffee when they get up!  Getting plenty of rest at night help your children reduce stress and allows them to concentrate on the important lessons that they are learning in school.  This can be made easier by easing your child back into an earlier bedtime, 30 minutes to an hour per night until you can assure that they are waking up rested and ready for the day.    Keeping a consistent nighttime routine is also essential to allow children adequate rest at night.  Taking baths or showers at night can be relaxing and help you have less to worry about in the morning.  Storytime is also great for kids to help them wind down, plus it makes sure you get some special time with them at the end of what was likely a busy day.

Nutrition

Offering children sugary breakfasts and sugary snacks in their lunchbox every day can set them up for different issues with their health as well as their school performance.  If you look at food labels, you’ll see that products that we think are healthy such as yogurt, cereal, and applesauce can have as much as 30 grams of sugar per serving.  This is more sugar then they are recommended to consume in an entire day!  This causes their blood sugar to spike and then quickly plummet, which can cause fatigue and irritability, not a good way to get through the school day.  Consider switching out food that your child likes for healthier alternatives.  Here’s a website that offers FIFTY ideas for healthy school lunches.  https://laurenslatest.com/50-school-lunch-ideas-healthy-easy/  I have to admit I’m actually hungry now after reading the list!  Also, please don’t think you have to be one of those moms who makes their kids school lunch look fancy.  I don’t know who those moms are and where they come from, but nobody has time for that!

The dreaded homework

When your kids have homework, it can feel like you have homework too.  Sometimes I agree it can be a bit much, but unfortunately, it is something that we have to do to help our children be successful in school.  One thing that can help is to get a big binder with a calendar.  Keep important paperwork from your child’s teachers in it as well as homework supplies such as paper, pencils, and all of those other things that seem to always be scattered around the house but are impossible to find when you actually need them.  Keep everything in there that you may need to refer to later.  Then during homework time pull it out and you’ll have everything that you need.  Also, try not to wait until the end of the day to work on homework.  It’s super hard to balance everything if you’re a working parent.  Trust me, I get it!  If your child is able to work on homework at their after-school program than encourage it as much as you can.  It takes a village!

Bottom line
Try not to stress.  I know, easier said than done.  Never be afraid to ask for help if you truly need it, and remember… you and your child WILL get through this!

Written by: Christine Clark, Assistant Director of Youth Village

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