Back to school: 5 tips to give your kids a great start to their year

Back to school: 5 tips to give your kids a great start to their year

“Back to school” time doesn’t have to be stressful. February means the end of school holidays, which can be both a relief, and a source of stress.

Children can have varying reactions: some of them can’t wait to get back, while others are nervous or worried about the coming year.  Plus, the whole change in routine from “holiday mode” back to a normal school schedule can be difficult for kids and parents alike. You can help your children to get back into the swing of things smoothly (and preserve your own sanity while you’re at it) by following the 5 recommendations below.

5 tips to help get your kids’ school year off to a great start

Get them back into a good sleep routine as early as possible

  • It’s normal for children to stay up a little later over the holiday period, but remember they’ll need to get up at a set time once school starts.  Ideally, in the last week or two of the holidays, they’ll have started going to bed earlier to let their bodies adjust.
  • Remember that most school-aged children need between 9-11 hours sleep each night to learn and focus. So agree a weekday bedtime with them, and then set an alarm or notification to go off 30 minutes beforehand.

Speaking of routines, create a morning one that works too

    While you’re talking bedtimes, agree a weekday “getting up” time as well. If you have more than one child, figure out who’ll use the bathroom first, and (for younger kids) who needs help with dressing before breakfast. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good morning meal for school kids, either. Teachers consistently report better attention, performance and interest in learning from children who’ve eaten breakfast. Make sure your kids cover off all the major food groups – carbs, protein and fat – with reasonable amounts of fibre in their breakfasts. Cereals and milk, scrambled eggs or a fruit smoothie (try adding some Healtheries LSA for extra fibre) are all simple, nutritious options.

Involve them in making healthy lunches they like

  • Like breakfast, school lunches should provide a good mix of the major food groups, with at least some fresh fruit and/or veges.
  • It’s OK to include some better-for-you packaged treats (Healtheries KidsCare® Potato Stix or Rice Wheels, for example). Just ensure that the majority of their lunchbox is filled with nutrient-dense whole foods.
  • Get kids involved in preparing their lunches the night before with ingredients they actually like. Older children can cut up cheese or veges, make salads, or hard-boil eggs. Younger ones can help to make their sandwiches with supervision, and choose their preferred healthy options from a selection you provide.

Set clear expectations around homework

  • Talk with kids about how much homework they’re likely to have each day; and when and where they’d prefer to do it. Create an after-school schedule with them that incorporates a snack, relaxation, play, study, and their bedtime routine.
  • Once you know where they’ll be doing their homework, set that space up to optimise focus for them. That means having the TV off and any game consoles away; and having a container with all the supplies they’re likely to need (pens, pencils, erasers, etc.) easily at hand.  

Top up their diets with nutrients to support their growing bodies and brains

  • When it comes to children’s nutrition, there’s no substitute for a balanced diet based on real, whole foods. But, let’s face it, we can all do with a little extra sometimes; and kids need a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to do their best in school. So consider incorporating top-ups into their diets, such as:
    • Healtheries KidsCare® Multivitamins: yummy, chewable tablets that provide children with the nutrients to support healthy growth and development
    • Healtheries KidsCare® Omega Smart bursts: bursts of flavour that provide DHA and Iodine to help maintain healthy brain development, learning and concentration

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