Title Image

10 ways to get an A+ in back-to-school readiness

10 ways to get an A+ in back-to-school readiness

Back to school brings a mixture of feelings; excitement and perhaps some anxiety for the new year. It’s a break for parents and caregivers, for kids, routine sets in, learning begins and the developing mind and body need some extra care to support their processes.

We look at 10 ways to support kids to be and feel more prepared and supported in this new school year:

1. Establish a healthy and flowing routine that can be practised a few days before school begins to allow for a smooth and easier transition, like perhaps waking earlier, eating at more fixed, regular times, setting time aside for homework etc.

2. Sleep well. Re-establish consistent bedtime and sleep patterns so that kids can feel well-rested, alert and reduce the morning grogginess.

3. Minimize tech-time like on the computer, gaming and other on-screen stimulation. Especially in current times where most work and assignments require kids to be behind a screen, taking breaks prove to be very beneficial for mental health and overall wellbeing. Instead, arrange playdates with other kids, practice a physical hobby (like building, crafts, puzzles, board games, musical instruments, sewing etc) or set one-on-one time aside.

4. Form good hygiene practice. The most effective way to reduce spreading germs is by washing hands. Encourage kids to wash their hands regularly, most importantly before they eat and after tasks. Singing the alphabet will help with how long they need to lather up for before rinsing. For older kids, a daily skincare regime will help prevent acne breakouts as hormones shift and change too.

5. Check stationary and book requirement lists, make sure you are prepared with all the essentials needed for a smooth year of learning and application. Get name tags and labels on to keep track and to personalize. This can be a great bonding activity to do together too and teaches responsibility for personal belongings.

6. Stay active. Holidays usually mean more activities, make sure to balance the extended sitting times with physical activities, sports and extra murals. This will help balance out your energy levels and keep the body and mind fit and fresh and boost positivity.

7. Stay hydrated. Make sure to always have a water bottle with fresh water available. The body requires water for optimal function, especially through the developmental period of school-going children and teens. This will not only keep them hydrated, but assist in mental alertness. Sugary cooldrinks, juices and caffeinated drinks are not an option and will cause disruptions in their energy and concentration levels.

8. Make breakfast an important meal. Having nutritious options like oats, fruit, wholewheat toast, smoothies, etc will help replenishes the supply of glucose to boost energy levels and alertness, while also providing other essential nutrients required for good health and development. According to a neuroscientific study, “Breakfast has been suggested to positively affect learning in children in terms of behavior, cognitive, and school performance”[1] We recommend making delicious breakfast bars with oats, berries, nuts and seeds, for a powerpack on-the-go meal, or some overnight oats for a quick grab.

9. Healthful and power-packed Lunchboxes. School requires a lot of energy, which means good nutrition is needed to stay focused and engaged up until after school activities. Make sure to diversify the packed lunches with an array of different healthy snacks for on-the-go or en route snacking. Chopped fruit, yoghurt, nuts, rice cakes, popcorn, sarmies, wraps, veggie fingers with a dip, are some easy and fun options. A great way is to have lots of options in smaller quantities and children can assist in packing their own lunches, thus also encourages good practice, but also motivators to eat what’s packed.

10. Set time aside for connecting. This is a crucial step, not only for the child, their development and confidence, but it will strengthen and maintain the safe environment you create for them. This can perhaps be over the dinner table, during meal prep, a special time before bed or whenever is possible. Set the time aside and create a ritual and routine over it. This time will be to find out how things are with your child, the pressures they experience, their experience in class and with peers and teachers, how work is going and for them to seek guidance through any struggles they may be having and to celebrate their accomplishments.

[1] The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents

Katie Adolphus,* Clare L. Lawton, and Louise Dye