Monday, August 26

HOW TO habits for a happy (and healthy) school year

The new school year has started, and maybe you're like me, and are already feeling overwhelmed. Plenty of other parents are still adjusting to the routine of a new school year, so it's okay to take a deep breath and regroup.  Here are a few tips to help you stay focused on what really matters:

Serve a healthy breakfast…+lunch, snack and dinner
It may sound old-fashioned, but even modern day experts say there’s plenty of merit to making sure your child has a nutritious start to the day.  Think about ways you can pack protein, whole grains, healthy fats, and a serving of fruit into this important start to the school day.  When it comes to after-school snacks, create a kid-accessible snack area of the refrigerator for pre-washed, pre-portioned snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and yogurt.  A little prep time and you’ve got a week’s worth of healthy snacks lined up and ready to grab on your way out the door!  Avoid fast food at dinner time by planning your meals in advance, including shopping and advance prep work whenever possible. And don’t forget your slow-cooker--it’s a real life saver for busy families.

Support your child’s teacher
Start off on the right foot when it comes to connecting with your child’s teacher.  Teachers are professionals whose education and experience makes them uniquely qualified to provide children with the instruction, care, and encouragement they need to master academic and life skills.  Show your respect by scheduling appointments rather than “dropping in” for impromptu conferences.  Be sure to go over your child’s homework and assignments and help out on projects when your assistance is needed.  Let your child’s teacher know you value and appreciate what is truly a labor of love on his or her part and you’ll be rewarded with a partnership that helps your child thrive in the classroom.

Be positive
When talking about school, your child’s teacher or your child’s performance in school, try to be as positive as possible.  Children are great imitators and your enthusiasm will be contagious.  Cheer them on as they tackle new skills and all of the exciting “firsts” a new year brings.  Your positive attitude and loving support will go a long way to helping them overcome any anxieties they may be feeling about learning new things or making new friends.

Read nightly with your child
It’s not complicated, and it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes a day, but this simple step could have a huge affect on your child’s success in school.  Studies show that parents who read with their children, boost overall aptitude for learning, improve inter-personal skills, increase attention-span and discipline…the list goes on.  Make reading a part of your daily routine and you’ll reap the rewards throughout your child’s school career.

Keep to a strict bedtime

After winding down with a good book, it’s off to bed!  Keeping to bedtimes is important for all members of the family, especially young children whose brains and bodies use this downtime to re-group, repair and grow.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends 11-13 total hours of daily sleep (including naps) for 3-5 year-olds.

Image credit:
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

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