The back-to-school season is an exciting time for kids and parents alike. As you gear up for the new academic year, establishing healthy routines and habits will ensure your children start happy, motivated, and ready to learn. This comprehensive guide covers key areas for parents to focus on for a smooth school transition.
Set a Healthy Sleep Routine
Sleep is essential for kids to function at their cognitive and emotional best. The National Sleep Foundation recommends school-age children get 9-12 hours of sleep per night, with a minimum of 10 hours for optimal health and development.
In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, begin instituting an age-appropriate, consistent bedtime and wake time. Allow time for winding down each evening by avoiding stimulating activities like high-energy play or screen time for at least an hour before bed. Experts suggest establishing relaxing rituals like bathing, listening to calm music, reading, or stretching as part of your child’s bedtime routine.
You can stick to this schedule as much as possible on weekends and holidays to reinforce the body’s natural circadian rhythms. Getting sufficient deep, restful sleep is crucial for kids to fully function mentally and physically during the school day.
Fuel Up with Nutritious Foods
The food kids eat provides the fuel to power them through long days of concentration and learning. Please make sure your child starts the morning with a balanced breakfast containing complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fat, and fiber.
Some examples of nutritious breakfast options include:
Oatmeal with Greek yogurt and fruit
Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices
Veggie and cheese omelet with avocado
Smoothie with leafy greens, plant-based protein powder, and berries
Stay hydrated during the day by packing a reusable water bottle and limiting sugary drinks. Prepare lunches with lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Some easy lunchbox-friendly ideas include:
Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread
Lentil or bean soup with carrots and celery sticks
Salads with chickpeas and nut-free pesto dressing
Greek yogurt with mixed berries and nuts
Choose options like apples with nut butter, hummus, ad veggie sticks, boiled eggs, air-popped popcorn, or homemade trail mix for snacks. Limit heavily processed, high-sugar snacks, which can lead to energy crashes. Focusing on whole, minimally processed ingredients will provide kids with long-lasting fuel.
Incorporate Plenty of Exercises
Regular physical activity and a healthy diet are vital for children’s growth, brain development, resilience, and disease prevention. Experts recommend that school-age youth get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise daily.
Encourage kids to walk, bike, or scooter to school when possible for conveniently incorporated activity. Schedule active playtime after school hours and on weekends. Sign children up for organized sports like soccer, basketball, dance classes, or tennis, combining skill-building and socialization.
Consider enrolling your child in 2-3 weekly
Help Kids Manage Emotions
The increased academic demands, evolving social dynamics, and new routines and responsibilities that come with each school year understandably produce strong emotions in children. Anxiety, nervousness, and frustration are common feelings.
Enroll your child in
Make time for open conversations as a family about any concerns or fears your child may have. Active listening without judgment will help kids feel heard and build trust. Teach techniques like deep breathing, grounding, gratitude journaling, and visualization to manage worries and nurture positivity—model self-compassion by being kind to yourself.
Watch the 5-minute breathing exercise below.
Let kids know that all emotions are normal but can be healthfully processed and released. Reinforce speaking gently both to themselves and others. Acknowledge efforts and progress, however small. With your support, kids will gain confidence in handling the ups and downs.
Unplug and Make Time for Play
Schedule regular device-free time where you unplug from technology as a household and enjoy simple shared pleasures instead. Outdoor time also naturally boosts mood and focus. Aim for a healthy balance where kids have time to unwind and recharge their minds and bodies. Make sure to schedule every minute. Allow kids to take the lead on how they spend some portion of their free time to tap into their natural curiosity.
Organize Supplies and Homework Station
Involve kids in Back-to-School shopping trips for supplies to get them engaged and invested. Have them help pick out binders, notebooks, backpacks, lunch boxes, and other gear in fun colors and patterns.
Set up a designated homework area in your home where kids can focus without distractions. Make sure it is stocked with the necessary supplies and resources. Use wall calendars, whiteboards, or apps to help kids organize assignments, activities, test dates, and other key events. Maintain organization of their backpack and binders. Minimize clutter in their workspace to create a sense of calm.
You are taking a whole-child approach that looks after physical, emotional, social, and mental well-being and gives your kids the best opportunity to start the academic year strong. Grafton Martial Arts’ classes incorporate many pillars of health, like activity, stress resilience, friendship, and discipline. The holistic curriculum empowers kids to flourish on the mats and in the classroom. Leverage the benefits of Grafton Martial Arts’ specialized youth programming to equip your children for success this back-to-school season.