Back to School: Healthy Morning Routines
The end of summer signals the beginning of school and everything that accompanies it. Preparing lunches, making sure homework is done, and stocking up on binders, pens, and pencils are just a few of the back to school activities you might have planned this year. Along with supplying the essential supplies, remember to consider the health of your child when helping them start their day. The following is a collection of easy ways to make mornings healthier and days brighter.
The Importance of Sleep
In order to approach the morning with a refreshed outlook, you never want to lose the benefit of good sleep. This applies to adults just as much as children. A good nights rest is important because it is how your body protects itself against fatigue, illness, and stress. Although children generally have higher energy levels, they still need adequate sleep to refuel their systems. Since going back to school also means getting up earlier, schedule bedtimes accordingly. For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is seven or eight hours each night. However, this number changes slightly for school-aged children and adolescents, as they need nine or more hours of sleep each night. Try to begin the new bedtimes within the week before school starts so that your child is used to going to sleep earlier. This way, school time wakeup calls will not be a sudden shock for them, and their bodies will have had time to adapt to the schedule change. Be aware of any sleep disturbances (bad dreams, bed wetting, household noise) and work on solutions to them as soon as possible.
Begin with Breakfast
Many consider breakfast the most important meal of the day. It is the nutritional foundation for the entire day and will set the stage for energy levels, moods, and productivity. Look for cereals that are low in sugar, high in fiber, and feature whole grains. They will prevent any unusual spikes or crashes in energy and give your child quality ingredients and nutrition. Make an effort to include fresh produce and protein as well. Boiled eggs are fast and portable, as are fresh fruit and yogurt (but beware of kids yogurts with added sugars and preservatives). Whole grain toast is a nutritious breakfast or snack. In fact, many breakfast foods can double as snacks, so keep the cereal available for after school too.
Work in the Exercise
Kids are naturally more active during the summer because of sports or other outdoor activities. When school rolls around, it is a good idea to keep them in motion. Depending on the schools location, they can try walking or riding a bicycle for a brief morning cardio workout. Of course, make sure it is safe for your child to travel that way. Another option is to have them walk with friends or wait until they are older. If walking and biking are not viable options, kids can still enjoy a little movement before school through morning jumping jacks, running in place, or other exercises they might enjoy. Consider doing the exercises with your children. They will be extra motivated and have fun at the same time. Plus, you will be making mornings about much more than just getting ready for school. Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lack-of-sleep/AN02065 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/childrens-health/HQ00419 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/childrens-health/HQ00419/NSECTIONGROUP=2