• Healthy back to school tips, including what items should be in your kid's backpack from back to school vitamins to healthy snacks.

8 Healthy Back to School Tips

How to Make a Healthy Back-to-School Transition

Back-to-school is a hectic time for most people. School supplies are scattered everywhere and kids are hard to wrangle as the number of summer days dwindle. Shopping for and preparing supplies, clothes and lunches can be a full-time job! The good news is we have some tips to ease your family’s transition into the new school year.

1.  Update medical records and vaccines

Many schools require annual physicals to be completed by your child’s primary care physician. Even if this is not a requirement of your school, it’s still a good idea to update medical records annually. This is also a great time to check that your child is up-to-date on their required vaccinations and boosters.

2.  Get back to a normal sleep schedule

One of the most important aspects for a child’s optimal learning is to be well-rested each day. The summer is lots of fun, but we don’t tend to stick to a daily schedule while running around enjoying the sun. About two weeks before the start of school, start transitioning school-age children back to a normal sleep schedule, with a goal to achieve 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night.

3.  Prepare a study/homework station

Creating a distraction-free area of the home for your child to complete homework will help them to focus and start the year on the right foot. This can be a desk, table, or quiet corner of your home. Be sure it is well stocked with pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, and all other supplies they may need to complete their homework. Use a drawer or simple shoebox to keep items organized. This will make a dedicated space to always find (and put away) the supplies they need to complete their assignments.

4.  Meet the teacher

Introduce yourself and your child to their new teacher(s) and determine their preferred method of communication. This will ensure that the school year goes smoothly and any questions throughout the year are handled in an organized fashion. Meeting the teacher can also reduce the stress felt by your child, as now there will be a familiar face in their classroom.

5.  Make sure your child knows the details of their schedule

Many children experience anxiety about knowing what to expect the first day. You can help them with this stress by making sure they know their course schedule, where their classrooms are located and identifying their emergency contacts, in case there is a change of plans. Whether they need to know a bus pick-up location or walking route, describing their schedule prior to the first day can ease some of their discomfort and prevent distractions as their day unfolds.

6.  Prepare healthy meal and and snack options

Hungry children have trouble focusing. Some simple meal planning can go a long way to starting their morning off right. Easy breakfasts on-the-go doesn’t have to be boring. Some of our favorites include smoothies with an extra nutrition boost such as chia seeds, leafy greens, and matcha powder and the make-ahead convenience of overnight oats that will stick to their ribs until snack time. Simple toast can also be a great way to get the day started. Keep it colorful and fun to eat with these ideas for Toast 4 Ways ideas.

Afterschool snack time can give kids a chance to unwind and grab some nutrients before dinner. Keeping a variety of snacks on hand in controlled portion containers such as plastic bags or mason jars can make it easy to grab a nutritious treat. Measure out servings of celery sticks and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, or cucumbers and ranch dressing and place them in a basket in the refrigerator. This will be an easy place for them to grab snacks on-the-go between afterschool activities and give them some decision-making control before starting homework.

7.  Set a vitamin and supplement plan

Every child has different nutritional needs, and it can be tricky to find the best vitamin for your student. Children’s multivitamins and supplements are designed to target healthy goals that fill in the gaps within their daily intake. Choosing the best vitamin is a personal choice, but we do have some basic guidelines for selecting vitamins for back to school that we suggest. Specialized supplements such as Omega 3s and Echinacea can support kids focus, immunity, as well as healthy brain development with the nutrients they may be missing from their daily diet. This can also differ in vitamins for Teens, as their nutritional needs change with their bodies. Create a plan for your focus of wellness and begin to take the vitamins and supplements on a daily schedule (this is a good time for Moms & Dads to take vitamins too!) This will soon become a seamless part of your routine.

8.  Organize first-day outfits

Putting together outfits the night before can save you and your child tons of time, chaos, and unintended stress. Help your child decide and prepare their outfit for the first day and create a schedule for picking out their next-day outfits each night to stay on track. If you want to go the next step, you can create bins or a space in their closet where they can select outfits for the week. This will help them plan out their days and prepare for details such as wearing comfortable clothing on days with gym class.

Bonus Tip for Parents: Practice Meditation

Before the stress of a back-to-school schedule change hits your house, try practicing mindful meditation  to prepare for the upcoming change. Simple meditation techniques can help you and your children remain mindful and at peace with the new change in pace.

While it’s normal for kids to feel some anxiety about the unknown, going back to school should be an exciting time.  Preparing them, and yourself, in full mind, body and spirit can help take the edge off their stress while fostering a strong sense of security and calm. These tips are a great place to start, as your children make their way to another year of new friends, fun, and learning. Best of luck for the new year!

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