Summer adventures are coming to an end and parents are getting their kids ready to go back to school. Perhaps you’ve noticed the mornings are a tiny bit cooler, giving you the sense that the seasons will be soon changing. But you’re a little worried about the upcoming busy schedules and making sure your family can still prioritize wellness.
So here are a few tips to help you make sure that you get a great start to the new school year and do it in a way that feels healthy!
1. Set your kids up for lunchtime success.
Lunches purchased at school are rarely whole food focused or super healthy. If your kids’ schools aren’t providing great lunches, it’s really easy to pack a lunch that will be good for their bodies and that they’ll love.
It doesn’t need to take a lot of time to prepare and you can even make it the night before (pro tip: make extra dinner and turn the leftovers into the next day’s lunch!). Take your kid to the health food store or food co-op and talk to them about healthy lunch choices. Let them pick out some veggies and fruits they’ll enjoy eating. Allow them to choose a fun lunch treat, such as organic fruit leather or popcorn, so they won’t feel left out at school or “too healthy.”
Just can’t pack a lunch or feeling the budget pinch? It’s okay! Try to get in lots of fruits and veggies for breakfast and dinner, then teach your child how to choose the best foods at school and which sugary items to skip. Eating healthy is about setting you and your kids up for a lifetime of success, so it’s okay to do that in reasonable ways!
2. Set yourself up for lunchtime success.
While you’re packing lunches for your kids, you could easily put one together for yourself as well. It can be challenging to eat healthy when you’re busy at work. Convenience foods, snack and soda machines, break room donuts, and eating out can be alluring when you haven’t packed anything else to eat.
So don’t be afraid to make yourself a tasty lunch and include a fun organic treat so you don’t feel tempted to eat one of those donuts or candy bars (and don’t feel bad about occasionally indulging – just make sure it’s occasional, not every day!).
3. Create a wellness-focused schedule.
Once school starts back up, so do all the sports, music lessons, and other family activities. In no time, you’ll find yourself with a stress level through the roof! Before you even end up in those unhealthy patterns, sit down as a family to talk about your schedule plans. Decide what things are must-do and what things you could cut out.
Maybe your kids love soccer, so that stays on the schedule. But maybe those extra language lessons are causing more stress than learning, so you decide to end them for now. Why should you consider doing this?
Kids these days are becoming more and more overscheduled, as parents rush to make sure they’re extra educated and prepared. But research shows that children thrive when they have lots of time to play, get bored, and do “nothing.” By cutting unnecessary stressors out of their lives, you’ll ensure that they are more mentally healthy and are better able to do well at school.
Parents these days feel high pressure to be the best parent they can be. But by giving your family more downtime to bond, play, and laugh together you are prioritizing wellness and giving your kids the gift of healthy play. Plus, you can cut yourself some slack and feel more at peace instead of getting caught up in the competitive rat race.
4. Focus on creating peace and decreasing stress.
In addition to reducing your schedule overload, add into your daily routine some practices that will bring you stillness and peace. These don’t need to be elaborate routines and it’s totally fine to start small and simple.
Find a mindfulness practice style that works for your personality, ability, and schedule, then plan it into your day. Teach your children about how to be more mindful and to learn to reduce their own stress levels through breathing and meditation. You’ll teach them the importance of self-care, mental health, and realistic self-expectations. You’ll also give them the gift of finding inner peace when they need it most.
You’ve got this – I know you can establish awesome wellness practices for yourself and your children this year!
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