The first few weeks of school can be a whirlwind for many families, whose summer was filled with swimming, video games, late bedtimes, vacations, snacking all day, and many other habits that will be hard to shake. Your kids might be exhausted, especially if he or she is involved with sports. Here are a few things you can do to ease the transition for everyone.
Encourage “down time.” It’s okay to rest after school. It’s okay to watch an hour of television before jumping into homework, or riding bikes after school. Encourage your child to rest if he feels tired. A short nap is okay, for no more than thirty minutes. Turning the brain on for six-seven hours after being turned off for months is going to exhaust anyone.
Pack a healthy lunch. This is up to you, as the parent, to ensure that your child has a decent breakfast and lunch. Eating sugar and carbs is going to cause the kid to crash mid morning and he’ll have to crawl his way through the rest of the day. Packing a healthy lunch will keep his energy up and his brain sharp. Be sure to balance carbs with proteins and limit sugary snacks. Sometimes giving him what he wants is going to make him feel worse for the wear, so compromise.
Have dinner together. Creating a routine around your evenings is going to make for smooth transitions between school, dinner, homework, and bedtime. Avoid allowing the kids to lounge around and play video games because they are withdrawing from three hour marathons over the summer! As always, dinner is the opportunity to learn about your child’s new classes. Get in the know from the very beginning so you can spot trouble areas sooner than later.
Establish a time carved out for homework. For some, it’s right after school, and for others, it’s after dinner. Whatever it is, make certain that one parent is available for homework time. Not only might your child “forget,” but if he or she has problems, he knows where to turn. Establishing these habits, and sticking to them, is critical. Add an incentive, like dessert for post-homework relaxing before bed.
Stay active. Be sure your child is taking advantage of the good weather while it lasts. The fun doesn’t have to end immediately–plan outings on weekends that the kids will look forward to. Soaking up every bit of warm weather will make the back to school season fun and not dreadful.