5 Ways to Transition Back-To-School Before the Bell Rings

Northwestern Medicine
Health and Wellness July 27, 2012
The lazy carefree days of summer are flying by, and before we know it, we’ll be shifting gears to earlier wake up times and more rigid routines.

Kids going back to schoolFall into a more comfortable back-to-school routine with these healthy transition tips:

Shut-eye: Children especially need a solid night’s sleep to wake up happy and ready to learn. Studies have shown that elementary age kids need about 10 hours of sleep a night, while tweens and teens still need a good 8 – 9 hours of sleep. Don’t wait to readjust bed times. The sooner you start, the easier the transition will be. Begin gradually by turning in 10-15 minutes earlier each night until you get back to the “norm.” The same goes for earlier wake up times.

Make family meal time a priority:
 Did you know that family mealtime can translate to better grades, healthier eating habits, and even closer family relationships? Make a schedule and set expectations that dinner will be served at set times on designated days. Involve kids in the planning and recipe development process so that they can be a part of the experience and learn the building blocks of healthy meal planning. Make extra servings of easy-to-pack sides for the next day’s lunch.

Don’t skip breakfast: It is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast boasts many benefits, but most importantly provides children with the energy and essential nutrients they need to concentrate on school work and learn. Provide them with fuel the right way with a balance of healthy complex carbs (foods high in fiber), a good source of protein, and a healthy fat to help power your kids throughout the day.

Schedule medical check-ups and immunizations: Whether your child is starting school for the first time or about to enter a graduation year, back-to-school time is the perfect opportunity to make sure he or she is caught up on vaccinations and visits their pediatrician for a general health check-up.

Start good habits early: Create a structured routine for you and your kids so they know what to expect and when. Sports and organized activities give kids a dose of healthy routine, so encourage them to get involved today.

For free health information or other wellness tips, contact the Health Learning Center at 312.926.LINK (5465).