Back-to-school time is often a mixture of sadness and relief for parents. Sad because your child is one year older, possibly starting a new phase (like kindergarten or middle school), and happy because your kids are now off to school every morning!
Everyone wants their kids to be able to do their best in school, but lunchrooms often have poor food choices and vending machines full of high-sugar sodas. And sometimes schools have too little physical education time or sports activities. To give your kids their best shot, let’s focus on what you can do to help!
- Sleep: It all starts with sleep. Children’s brains (and ours, too!) are much better at mental functioning, attention, computation, and memory when they get enough sleep. Their moods are better and they behave better when they sleep enough. Recent studies have supported this by showing that kids’ brains do much better with the structure of a consistent bedtime.
- Breakfast: After a good night’s sleep, it’s time for a good breakfast, too. Starting kids’ days off with a good protein source, fresh fruits, or even vegetables is key to giving their brains the energy they need. Try yogurt with granola, breakfast burritos with shredded carrots, or protein-packed shakes with frozen blueberries for extra brain power.
- Healthy food options: Once you get them out the door with a good breakfast, don’t stop there. Packing your child’s lunch is generally healthier than relying on school lunches. At home, put a fruit bowl out so they walk by it often. Keep soda out of the house. Keep processed foods to a minimum; certain food additives have been associated with hyperactivity.
- Good hygiene: It’s a good idea for kids to practice good hygiene both at home and at school. Make sure your kids are washing their hands before eating. And while you may not be around to watch them at school, you can also pack a Get Clean® Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer in their backpack before they leave!
- Good nutrition: To make sure your kids are getting enough nutrients, consider a daily multivitamin like Incredivites®. It provides calcium and vitamin D, which are crucial bone-building nutrients.* The omega-3 fish oils (especially DHA) in Mighty Smart®Choice are important for brain development and a must for growing kids.* And for a boost in vitamins C and D, zinc, and powerful antioxidants, try Shakleekids™ Super Immunity Gummies.
- Less screen time: Television, computers, tablets, and phones all have our kids sitting and staring at one screen or another. In fact, a recent report suggests that kids average eight hours of screen time a day. Try limiting screen time on school nights and turning off all electronics an hour before bed—this will greatly help calm their minds which will help them get to sleep faster.
- More exercise: Since schools are cutting back on physical education, parents have to take the time to make sure their kids spend at least some of the day doing something active. Exercise is great for kids’ brains; it helps them sleep better, have more confidence and better thinking skills, and improve their moods. When kids are having a tough time with their homework, send them outside to run around in the backyard for 15–20 minutes; it does wonders.
Taking simple steps can really pay off. Let’s help our kids to do their best in every way we can!