The Obesity Action Coalition shared that whether you are home for virtual school or sending the kids off with a mask and hand sanitizer, back to school looks different this year. While we are not rushing to the stores for back to school shopping like most Augusts, the re-setting of routines remains a priority.
Considering life hasn’t been “normal” since March, we may need a BIG reset. With family time now meaning spending 100% of your time with the kids, try creating a democratic environment and have your kids weigh-in on a new set of parameters for a school year routine.
Please consider this while reading these tips: give yourself some grace. If you plan to serve healthy meals and snacks and set a schedule for when to eat, the rest is up to your kids. Model by example by building a balanced plate for yourself, but know that the rest is up to the kiddos. If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it’s to realize how little control we really have.
For a more tangible tip, get the kids involved. Have them each pick a dinner once per week, and possibly one they can help with. In my house, my kids have some power over snacks – they pick the snack, but they know it needs to contain a fruit or veggie as a component.
Give the kids freedom. While working from home, my kids needed to become a lot more independent. We’ve had lessons on using the microwave, climbing counters and using stools to reach dishes, and putting clean silverware away. Popping their own popcorn has led to finding their own recipes and making breakfast bars, cookies, and lots of varieties of slime. Now that they’ve learned how to read a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, they can conquer most other recipes. You too can open this Utopian world by allowing some experimenting and accepting some (or a lot) of mess.
Have a bedtime. That’s it. That’s the tip.
The first few weeks of the pandemic, we let bedtime slide. The kids made up for the later bedtime by sleeping in, but this Mama neither slept in nor had any alone time. I quickly realized everyone benefited from me having alone time, so bedtime was quickly reinstated. This helped our whole family’s sleep health.
It’s time to get back on a school sleep schedule with enough time for getting ready and commuting to school or logging into the virtual classroom. My 5 and 8-year-old’s are well-versed on the importance of sleep for growing and getting energy. With the school year looming, I shared that we needed to move bedtime up, and I let them decide what time they wanted. Guess what? They chose the same time I would have! We followed a similar pattern with waking up, and my 8-year-old helped work backward by reviewing her morning routine to identify a wake-up time.