Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back to School – Where did the summer go?!

As I sit in my kitchen sipping my morning coffee, I glance over at my kids.  Two are glued to Nintendo DS players.  One is stuck to our iPad.  And the fourth is still in bed.  It’s eight in the morning and this is how they are starting the day.  If they aren’t in camp, the default activity is something with a backlit screen (computer, video game, TV).  This drives me crazy.  

I think about going to back to school in two weeks (we go back before Labor Day).  This is not going to be an easy transition!  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve tried throughout the summer to stimulate their brain cells.  “Let’s do five pages of workbooks!”  Grumbles and groans, while I hear, “Mom, I have to save!” Then there are about ten-fifteen minutes of focused library-like quiet after they settle down with age-appropriate workbooks.  Then… they’re done.  “Can I play now?”

We’ve read books, gone outside (when it’s not 120 degrees and a wall of humidity out there), been to summer camps, played sports, visited museums, vacationed at the beach, and so on.

But, now it’s time for school again.  Hurray!  Summer can be exhausting (for the parents!).

So, starting next week, it’s back to normal bedtime and wake up times.  This will make the actual week of school a much easier transition.  I highly recommend requiring this for your kids the week before school starts, especially your teenagers who would much prefer to go to bed at 2 a.m. and wake up around noon.

You may have heard of the motto – “9-5-2-1-0” as a way to remember what is healthy for kids every day. 
9 - hours of sleep
5 - servings of fruits and vegetables
2 -  hours of screen time (max)
1 -  hour of exercise, and
0 - sugary beverages (like juice or soda)  

So, take a look at what your child is getting and see if there is any room for improvement.  This applies to kids who are in preschool, elementary, middle or high school. 

Buying school supplies is always a treat for my kids.  They love their new backpacks and cool lunchboxes.  If your child is new to school, or isn’t a big fan of school, this is a positive way to bring up the idea of heading back.

Starting school is also when germ-sharing begins in earnest.  Proper hand washing is the best way to prevent picking up viruses and bacteria that can make us sick.  Teach your kids how to wash their hands well while at school and when they come home from school.

To wash hands properly, your child should wash with water and soap for at least twenty seconds, or the time it takes to sing the alphabet song.  Try to clean the tips of the fingers especially well since children tend to put their fingers in their mouths or touch their faces.

Getting plenty of rest, eating a health breakfast and washing hands properly will help to make your child’s beginning of the school year a great one.  Best of luck with the back-to-school preparations, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done as you send your little one off to school for another amazing year!

Thanks for reading!