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Back-to-school time can be as stressful for parents as it is for kids. I believe there are some key strategies to maintaining a healthy back to school balance for everyone in the family. With a few simple changes, you can minimize the stress of going back to school and start enjoying the routine.  

Plan ahead.

Save yourself some headaches by planning ahead. For example, pack backpacks the night before, so you won’t forget anything. This goes for parents, too. If you have something that you want to make sure to take to the office, put it in your car the night before.

Sleep well.

A good night’s sleep is important for concentration and mood. Reading and other quiet activities before bedtime help children wind down better than TV or video games. A wise friend told me, “The next day actually begins the night before.” Meaning: Set a regular bed time and try your best to stick to it.   

Start well.

Getting a good start in the morning can be simple: 

  • Make sure that you plan enough time in the morning. If you have a child that takes a bit more time to “wake up” in the morning, give him/her extra time to get going in the morning. 
  • Make sure you build in time to prepare a good breakfast. Kids who start the day right with a healthy breakfast keep their minds on their studies and not on their stomachs. Plan ahead to have some quick, easy breakfasts that are high in protein and whole grains and low in sugar (I like Van’s Natural Foods 8 Whole Grains Pancakes and Waffles, or its latest, better-for-you option, Ancient Grains cereal featuring 6g of protein and 5g of fiber).
  • Don’t forget to make sure your morning routine includes time for kids to eat!

Exercise.

Kids who play outside after school (whether in organized sports or just with friends at the park) would be less likely to gain weight than kids who sit on the couch for hours of TV. They also have an easier time falling asleep at bedtime. Take a walk with your kids to get some great one-on-one time and take that opportunity to have them tell you about their day.