After a couple of months of staying up late, zoning out in front of TV or video screens, vacations or camp time, running wild outside, and eating snacks throughout the day, kids are usually in for a big adjustment as they head back to school. Most children need help transitioning back into a routine with deadlines for a successful start to the school year.
Going back to school can mean an end to staying up late and your child may need help getting back to waking up early. Gradually having them go to bed earlier even a few days during the week can be a key. The National Sleep Foundation says kids between the ages of 3 and 5 need 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night; ages 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep; and teens 14 and older should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
Eating habits also need to be adjusted. After a summer of fewer rules and more treats, it is best to get kids back into the habit of eating three regular meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It is always helpful if families sit down for meals together when possible to help reset the routine.
Things often get so busy we almost forget to leave a little room for physical activity. Keeping active as a family helps ward off immune system drops and other stresses as we also enter into the cooler fall season.
And besides some kind of physical activity, it is super important to reduce “screen time”. Not always so easy. Kids spend a big part of their day sitting in the classroom, so you can help your children spend less time in front of the TV, computer, and video games. A daily limit of two hours each day is ideal for children and parents should be a good role model by reducing their time as well.