It’s that time when summer vacation is winding down, and you and your kids need to shift gears to the school year ahead. In all honesty, it can be stressful thinking about the long checklist you have to get through to ensure they, and you, are ready. Do they need new backpacks? Who’s going to be their teacher this year? Should you have them take the school bus or drop them off? Have they had a growth spurt and need a fresh wardrobe?
You may also wonder how you can keep your children as healthy as possible as they return to the classroom. It’s easy to get swept away by all the details, but there’s no need to panic if you have a few things set in place. Take a look at the following ways you and your family can successfully kick off the start of the school year feeling your best.
Set an Early Bedtime
After weeks of staying up late and sleeping in, children can have a difficult time adjusting to a bedtime routine. But, it’s important to set one so they don’t wake up feeling sluggish and low on energy for a busy day of learning. Missing out on a good night’s rest can negatively impact kids’ attention span and ability to retain information, according to the Sleep Foundation. To make the transition as smooth as possible, start by having them hit the sack early at least a week before their first day of school.
If they’re having a hard time feeling sleepy, there are activities you can do to help them wind down. Have them power off electronics, so there are no distractions. Read them their favorite story or have them fill you in on their day until talking has pooped them out. Keeping lights dim and the room quiet can also get your child snoozing in no time.
Prep Healthy Meals
It’s no secret eating nutritious foods helps growing kids stay healthy and energetic. They’ll benefit from the extra energy when it’s time to hit the books and head out to the playground. Getting back into the groove of a school schedule can be tough, so it might help to have a meal plan in place to avoid whipping up breakfast or packing lunches in a hurry. Sticking to foods that are rich in protein and fiber, and low in sugar, will help them focus better and stay alert. You can start off their morning with a bowl of oatmeal, yogurt and granola, a blended fruit smoothie, or hard-boiled eggs.
What you put in their lunchbox is just as important as what they have for breakfast. Fruits and veggies are always a good choice, like baby carrots, celery sticks, berries, or a sliced apple. Wholesome sandwiches and wraps are great options for something heartier. And, you can include your child in lunch prepping by asking what types of healthy snacks they want to take to school.
Teach Your Kids Good Hygiene
Let’s be real. School can be a breeding ground for all sorts of germs. Students are in close proximity to each other and kids’ immune systems are still developing. If you want to prevent sick days from happening during the first week of school, share a few hygiene tips with your young ones. Emphasize the importance of washing their hands with water and soap for 20 seconds after using the bathroom and before eating and drinking. You can pack them a travel-size hand sanitizer they can use if they can’t get to a sink. Let them know they shouldn’t put their hands on their face after touching a dirty surface, and that it’s safer not to share belongings like lip balm, a hair brush, and lotion with their classmates.
Shop Ahead for School Supplies
If you want your children to be as prepared as possible in the classroom, make sure they have the supplies they need. However, before you head out to storm the back-to-school section at your local store, take inventory of what you already have from the previous school year. You might have plenty of pens, pencils, and highlighters to go around. This can help you save time and money, so when you go shopping, you’re only grabbing the essentials. Binders, notebooks, and folders are great basics to stock up on. And while you’re at it, load up on cleaning necessities. Having disinfecting sprays and wipes to sanitize surfaces at home will eliminate any germs your kids happen to bring indoors from school and help keep the entire family healthy.
Encourage Your Child to Open Up
Do you remember what it was like showing up on the first day of school? The thought of having to get acclimated to a new teacher, new classmates, and a new curriculum can be intimidating for any child. That’s why giving them the opportunity to open up about how they’re feeling can help them get over first-week jitters. Share a situation that made you nervous and how you overcame it. Try role playing different scenarios they may encounter, like introducing themselves to new students. There are also plenty of children’s books you can read together that can calm any fears they have.
To help prepare your home this back to school season, use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to help clean inevitable messes and help prevent the spread of germs* children can carry with them from school because we’re unstoppable when we start clean.
*Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria on hard, nonporous surfaces when used as directed.