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Getting back into school year routines

Kids' Health

Summer camp, play dates and movie nights make for wonderful childhood memories. They also throw off family mealtimes, bedtimes and other routines that keep us sane during the school year.

As summer winds down, now is the perfect time to start making small adjustments so your kiddos and you are ready to get back into the school year routine. Here are our top tips:

  1. Get back to bedtime. If late summer nights have pushed back bedtime, now is the time to start moving slowly toward school year bedtimes. For younger kids, set a timer for 30 minutes before bed each night so they have plenty of warning. For older kids, clearly communicate bedtime expectations while moving “lights out” 15 minutes earlier each week. This is also a good time to check in on nightly hygiene routines like brushing, flossing and face washing.
  2. Work toward that wake-up call. No one likes waking up at 9 a.m. one morning and 6 a.m. the next. Set your family’s alarms for a few minutes earlier each week to work your way toward school year wake-up times.
  3. Eat three healthy meals a day. If summer has thrown the family into the habit of late lunches and all-day snacking, start getting back to three on-time meals a day. Try to schedule meals around the time kids will be eaten during the school year.
  4. Reinforce screen time limits. During the summer, it’s easy for kids to watch a few extra movies or spend a little more time on the computer or tablet. Don’t sweat it — but work toward getting back to your kids’ regular limits with timers and screens away an hour before bedtime. Bonus points: Check out a library book to read or find a book to read aloud as a family in lieu of movie nights.
  5. Clean out those backpacks and stock up on school supplies. Even if they don’t need a brand-new backpack or lunch box this year, take some time with your kids to clean out last year’s packs and throw out any old papers. Restock with fresh pencils, crayons and notebooks. Wipe out lunch boxes with warm, soapy water and leave them to dry in the sun.

Going back to school doesn’t have to be a hassle. If you start now, you can get back into a routine and make those first weeks back just a little bit less stressful. If your child needs a back-to-school or sports physical, find a provider near you.