Today we are going to talk about the tools and knowledge to establish healthy habits for a successful school year.
We’ll be discussing essential healthy habits to help your kids thrive academically, physically, and mentally. Whether you’re a student, parent, or educator, this episode is packed with valuable insights and practical tips to make this school year the healthiest one yet.
When it comes to healthy habits even though we know better we don’t always do better.
The back-to-school season can be both exhilarating and overwhelming for both students and parents as the summer days wind down. It’s time to shift gears and establish a back-to-school routine that sets the stage for a successful and enjoyable academic year.
As you’re entering back into a school routine, here are a few tips for a smooth and stress free transition while incorporating essential habits. I understand how overwhelming it can be coming back to school. Waking up early again and getting lunches packed, brushing teeth and getting out the door on time. It’s just crazy. If you’re a working mom, you may have never gotten out of that routine, but for many moms especially if you have been home with your kids, it can be very hectic when it’s time to go back to school.
I’ve done both. I only have one child and it was not easy. For me it all starts with mindset and cultivating positive back to school and habits and routines. I preach healthy habits, to be honest I know how easy it is to get out of those habits and how hard it is to get them back. While I knew many of these, incorporating them into our daily routine was another story altogether.
Many things when you have kids or just in life are easier said than done.
You may or may not have different routines during the summer, either way reframing your mindset and approaching the transition to a positive outlook helps to manage the chaos and prevent meltdowns.
- Plan Ahead: Begin preparing for the new school year in advance. Create a checklist of essential tasks such as purchasing school supplies, uniforms, backpacks, lunch boxes and other essentials. Planning ahead reduces last-minute stress.
- 2. Create a Family Calendar: Set up a family calendar to keep track of school events, extracurricular activities, and important dates. Color-code entries for each family member to stay organized and avoid scheduling conflicts.
- Streamline Morning Routines: Plan morning routines to be efficient and stress-free. Lay out clothes, shoes and pack school bags.
Plan Healthy Lunches: Involve your child in planning and preparing nutritious lunches. This ensures they have a variety of foods they enjoy and helps them look forward to mealtime at school.
Cut up fruits and vegetables that can just be put in a little baggies or containers.
Consider preparing healthy grab-and-go breakfast options for busy or hectic mornings. We would leave for ice skating practice before school sometimes at 5 am. If I was not prepared we would drive through dunkin donuts. I am pretty sure that all the sugar was feeding the Cancer for me. I knew that was not healthy but it was easy and I was not a good planner.
- Set Realistic Goals: Discuss academic and personal goals with your child. If they are older, have a conversation as you may have different opinions about this then they do. Setting realistic and achievable targets fosters a sense of purpose and motivation. Most kids do not want to let their parents down. Being on the same page will help their mental status as well. Life has challenges and for kids you are their safe place. I was 38 when I had my daughter. This generation has a very different view of the world from how I was raised. I have learned so much being a parent about myself, the world and empathy. My goals for her were not realistic for the times we are in now. There are also so many more options available than there were when I was her age.
- Encourage Open Communication: Create an open and positive environment for children to share their thoughts and feelings. Address any anxieties or concerns they may have.
Emphasize positivity and maintain a positive attitude about the back-to-school season. Frame it as an exciting opportunity for growth, learning and friends.
- Foster Independence: Teach your child age-appropriate skills that promote independence, such as packing their own school bag, organizing their belongings or cleaning their room. This builds confidence and reduces reliance on parents. I have seen some of my daughter’s friends come and go where you can tell their Moms did everything for them. My daughter would say why don’t you do this? It’s your job __mom does this for them. While she was judging me I am not judging. When it came to a simple task like wiping up spilled pop on the floor I had to go back and clean the sticky mess up. I looked at my daughter and said this is why I made you do these things. She would just shrug. Being a parent does not come with a hand book. We generally do what we know. We all want our kids to grow up, be healthy, live independent lives and thrive.
- Practice Flexibility: Be adaptable and open to making adjustments as needed. We really do not get an option with this one. Things happen. Embrace the imperfections of the back-to-school routine and focus on progress rather than perfection.
- Practice Mindfulness: I know this is a buzzword. By mindfulness I mean practices into your daily routine that incorporate a moment of reflection in the morning or night and deep breathing. Deep Breathing helps reduce anxiety, stress and increases focus. It is also a way to teach kids to stop and breathe when they are feeling anxious before they react. I wish I had known to teach my daughter to take a moment and breathe when she was little. This helps them self regulate their emotions also. If they breathe through their nose. If they don’t I can help. That is another conversation. You know where to find me if you need help in this area as well as the next.
- Gradual Adjustment to Sleep Schedule: This is what we struggled with the most going back to school. We were going to bed later and sleeping in. So we had to start adjusting bedtime and wake-up times gradually, at least a week before school starts. This helps children and Moms ease back into a consistent sleep routine, ensuring everyone is well-rested for the day.
- Understanding the role of quality sleep in cognitive function and learning.
In the bustling world it’s easy to overlook one of the most fundamental pillars of success: quality sleep. As students strive to absorb knowledge and excel in their studies, the importance of restful sleep should never be underestimated. Sleep has a profound role, not only the quantity but the quality of sleep plays in enhancing cognitive function and learning, and discovering how prioritizing rest can lead to academic brilliance.
The Sleep-Cognition Connection: Fueling the Brain for Learning ????
- Memory Consolidation: During sleep, the brain undergoes crucial memory consolidation, where it processes and organizes information learned during the day. This process strengthens memory retention and improves recall, helping students retain and apply knowledge effectively.
- Attention and Focus: A well-rested mind is more attentive and focused. Quality sleep enhances cognitive alertness, allowing students to engage in lectures, absorb complex concepts, and stay sharp during exams.
- Creativity and Problem-Solving: Sleep fosters creativity and innovative thinking. A rested brain is better equipped to approach challenges with fresh perspectives and find imaginative solutions.
- Emotional Regulation: Adequate sleep plays a vital role in emotional regulation, reducing stress, anxiety, and irritability, providing a stable emotional foundation for effective learning. When we breathe through our nose we sleep better and get 18 % more oxygen to the brain.
- Learning Consolidation: Sleep optimizes the neural connections formed during learning, strengthening the knowledge acquired and preparing the brain for future learning endeavors.
If the cycle of sleep is disrupted it affects the growth hormone and increase cortisol with then increases blood pressure and weight gain
Strategies for Prioritizing Quality Sleep for Academic Success ????????
- Consistent Sleep Schedule: Establish a consistent sleep schedule, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Maintain this routine even on weekends to regulate the body’s internal clock.
- Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Engage in calming activities before bedtime, such as reading, gentle stretches, or practicing mindfulness. Avoid stimulating electronics that can interfere with sleep quality.
- Optimize Sleep Environment: Create a comfortable sleep environment with minimal distractions. Ensure the room is cool, dark, and quiet for optimal rest.
- Limit Caffeine and Heavy Meals: Reduce caffeine intake, especially in the evening, and avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. If you eat an hour before bed your body is busy digesting which can disrupt sleep patterns.
- Manage Stress: Encourage stress management techniques, such as journaling or deep breathing, to alleviate anxiety that may interfere with falling asleep.
By recognizing the profound connection between quality sleep, cognitive function, and learning, students can unlock their full academic potential. Prioritizing restful nights not only improves memory, attention, and creativity but also enhances overall well-being.
If your kids are having a hard time waking up in the morning and they’re still tired. We really might want to look at how they are breathing? Are they tossing and turning? Do they have dark circles under their eyes? Are they wetting the bed? Take a video of them when they go to sleep to see if they are breathing with their mouth open?
If you’re seeing that your kids are experiencing any of these, if you’re struggling to get them up in the morning, there may be something else going on that you’re just not seeing.
There are some things that we should look into and talk about.
With my daughter. She was wetting the bed. She had dark circles under her eyes. She did not want to wake up and it was just so hard to get her up on days we weren’t skating. It was worse for my sister. My niece would flat out refuse it would take her an hour to get her up . Sometimes getting them out of bed is half the battle which will eat up a lot of time in your morning. I could talk so much more about this topic.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of being truly healthy for so many reasons. If you have been listening to me you know how I feel about sleep and breathing when it comes to our kids thriving. You may not even realize your child is struggling with sleep disordered breathing.
- Brushing Teeth in the Morning: We all know that brushing our teeth is an essential part of maintaining oral hygiene. But have you ever wondered why brushing your teeth in the morning holds particular significance? Incorporating the morning brush into your daily routine sets the tone for prioritizing oral health. It sends a signal to your brain that oral hygiene matters, encouraging you to maintain good habits throughout the day.
- Freshens Your Breath: After a long night’s sleep, bacteria build up in your mouth, leading to morning breath. Brushing your teeth in the morning helps eliminate these bacteria and leaves your breath fresh and revitalized.
- Removes Plaque and Bacteria: Throughout the night, a thin layer of plaque accumulates on your teeth. Brushing in the morning is an effective way to remove this plaque, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease.
- Protects Against Tooth Decay: Your saliva protects your teeth and at night we produce less. By brushing your teeth in the morning, you protect your teeth from acid attacks that occur after eating. This proactive measure helps defend against tooth decay and enamel erosion. You may want to wait 30 minutes to brush if you have had something acidic to eat.
- Boosts Your Confidence: A clean and fresh mouth sets the stage for a confident start to your day. Knowing you have taken care of your oral health can boost your self-esteem and leave you feeling more prepared to face any challenges that come your way.
- Promotes Gum Health: Brushing your teeth in the morning also includes cleaning your gums and tongue. This helps prevent gum disease and promotes overall gum health. Especially if you breathe through your mouth at night.
When it comes to brushing your teeth, you have to decide if you want to wake up and brush your teeth and then go eat breakfast? Or do you want to wake up, eat breakfast and then go brush your teeth?
Knowing which routine works best for you is going to be helpful.
We do recommend that if you’ve had something acidic for practice, you don’t brush your teeth within 30 minutes and so and you’re not going to be brushing your teeth and tooth brushing is the number one habit that gets skipped in the morning because there’s too much chaos going on.
If you didn’t brush them at night before you went to bed and then you don’t brush them in the morning. That’s more than 24 hours that you’ve gone without brushing your teeth. So find creative ideas that make tooth brushing enjoyable for both you and your children.
Balancing and prioritizing self care, washing your face, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, getting your clothes on all of these things aren’t going to be things that you need to integrate into your routine as everyone’s getting up and going for the day.
Brushing Teeth at Night: This nightly oral care ritual plays a crucial role in maintaining excellent dental health too.
Removing the Day’s Debris: Throughout the day, food particles, bacteria, and plaque accumulate on our teeth and gums. Brushing at night ensures we remove this debris, preventing it from wreaking havoc on our dental health while we sleep.
By brushing our teeth at night, we reduce the number of harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Eliminating these bacteria helps protect our teeth from acid attacks that can occur after eating and drinking throughout the day.
Aiding in Plaque Removal: Plaque buildup on our teeth is one of the main contributors to dental problems. Regular night time brushing helps break down and remove plaque, reducing the risk of gum inflammation and tooth decay.
Promoting a Relaxing Nighttime Routine: Incorporating a nighttime brush into our routine can signal the body that it’s time to wind down and relax before sleep. Reading a book before bed. Turning off all stimulating devices This helps promote a sense of calmness, leading to more restful nights. We should go through 4 cycles of sleep during Rem is when our body stores our memories and repairs. If we are not cycling through these stages a few times a night we are in fight or flight and our sympathetic nervous system takes over. When this happens it throws off everything in our body.
The Power of Physical Activity: Enhancing Body and Mind
Physical activity isn’t just about building strong muscles and cardiovascular health; it also nurtures the mind and fosters cognitive growth.
Studies show that regular exercise much like sleep:
- Boosts Concentration and Focus: Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, improving attention span and concentration, leading to better academic performance.
- Enhances Memory Retention: Engaging in physical activity before or after learning can enhance memory retention, helping students retain and recall information effectively.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, reducing stress and promoting a positive mental state, essential for handling academic pressures.
- Fosters Creativity: Physical activities often involve problem-solving and creative thinking,
- which can spill over into academic tasks and encourage innovative approaches.
- Improves Sleep Quality: Regular exercise promotes better sleep patterns, ensuring students are well-rested and mentally alert for their studies.
Establish a Homework Station: Designate a quiet and well-lit space for homework and study time. Ensure it is free from distractions, comfortable and equipped with necessary supplies.
Embrace Healthy Habits: Encourage healthy habits such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, tooth brushing morning and night and sufficient sleep. These habits support overall well-being and can enhance focus and academic performance.
Prioritize Family Time: Set aside dedicated family time during the week. Whether it’s enjoying a meal together or engaging in a fun activity, family time strengthens bonds and provides a sense of security.
Visiting the Dentist: As we prioritize the overall well-being of our school-age children, School forms were incorporated at certain ages making dental visits mandatory to even enroll your child in school. It is a proactive step towards ensuring excellent oral health and fostering a positive attitude towards dental care.
These dental checkups, integrated into the school system, bring forth a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond just a beautiful smile. They are meant to prevent children from missing school due to an abscessed tooth. Dental disease is silent and no pain does not mean no problem. Prevention is always better than an emergency visit for many reasons. X-rays are an important part of catching cavities before they become a problem.
By implementing these tips, you can create a stress-free back-to-school routine that fosters a positive and supportive environment for your child’s academic journey. Embrace this exciting time as an opportunity for growth, learning, and new experiences. With preparation, communication, and a focus on well-being, your family can approach the new school year with confidence and enthusiasm.
This is not just for your kids but you also as a parent need to take care of yourself and find that balance and ease in everyday life. If you don’t take care of yourself you can not be there for everyone else. I had to learn that the hard way.
If there’s anything that I can do to help you please go ahead and reach out.
As always a healthy mouth is a healthy body and a happy healthy life.
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It truly does take a community and leaning on the people around you and people that can help you is one other way that you can help have a stress free work here and a stress free life living in harmony.
Here’s to a successful and fulfilling year ahead! ????????????