It’s that time of year again, back to school again. Whether you dread that summer is drawing to a close or revel in the fact that the kids will soon be out of the house, here are some things to keep in mind to make the most of the back-to-school season.
For Parents and Kids:
– Get back into a routine ASAP. Nothing is more shocking to the system than getting up at 6 or 7AM after a summer of sleeping in. Gradually start working up to earlier wake-up times so there is no fear of missing the bus on that first day!
– Pack a lunch the night before. That way you aren’t running around in the morning trying to throw something together (which more often ends up being more convenient than it is nutritious). And speaking of those convenience lunch foods, always remember to read the label. Granola bars aren’t always as healthy as they sound, especially if they are fully dipped in chocolate. Try making a batch of homemade granola bars, then you know exactly what went into them.
– Weigh that backpack. A study done in 2003 showed that only 4% of parents had ever weighed their child’s backpack and only 66% had checked the actual contents of the backpack (Forjuoh, Little, Schechmann & Lane, 2003). Meanwhile another study in Spain found that over 61% of kids carried a backback that exceeded 10% of their body weight (Rodríguez-Oviedo et al., 2012). These heavy bags are putting children at risk of back pain. Try to reduce the load by ensuring that only necessary materials are transported back and forth from home to school. Purchase a good quality backpack with padded straps and adjust it to fit your child’s shoulders.
– Communicate, communicate, communicate! Make yourself aware of what homework they have and help them to stay organized by keeping an agenda or day-timer. Slow down and ask questions about how your child’s day went. If they only provide a one word response, ask further questions to elaborate. Make sure you’re still scheduling quality family time together. Kids and parents alike need downtime, so make sure the schedule includes this!
Back to school isn’t just for kids, here are some ideas to start afresh for fall!
– Are you in a lunch rut? Tired of that boring, tasteless turkey sandwich? It’s time to put some inspiration back into that midday meal. Take the humble salad for example. Who knew you could do so much with it? Today’s supermarkets are filled with ever-expanding varieties of produce. Try a new green like baby kale tatsoi (it’s kind of like spinach and bok choi combined). Always make sure to add lots of texture. Anything from candied nuts to salty feta cheese works. And most important of all, remember to pack that dressing on the side. No one wants a soggy salad.
– Time to reorganize! We always hear about spring cleaning but what better time to reorder and regroup than the fall? Start with your desk. A cluttered workspace is not productive when you can’t find what you are looking for. Maybe you need to go out a buy some storage baskets and labels to make sure that everything stays in the right place. While you are at it, why not tackle your closet too? Clothes tend to accumulate when you stop growing out of them. Take items that you don’t wear to consignment or charity, or even do a clothing swap with friends. Either way, it makes room for some new pieces.
– Was your favorite part of going back to school as a kid getting to meet new friends and rekindle relationships with old ones? As an adult, fall is the perfect time to broaden your circle of connections. Make an effort to attend different events in order to network and meet new people. If you want to expand your business circle even further, sign-up for an online networking site like LinkedIn.
Back to school can be daunting but with the right preparation and attitude, you can transition smoothly into the new school year.
Forjuoh, S., Little, D., Schuchmann, J., Lane, B. (2003). Parental knowledge of school backpack weight and contents. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 88, 18-19.
Grish, K. (2011). Back to School (for Grown-Ups). Natural Health, 41(7), 56-63.
Reading Today (2010). Experts in the classroom offer back-to-school tips. Reading Today, 28(1), 38.
Rodríguez-Oviedo, P., Ruano-Ravina, A., Pérez-Ríos, M., García, F., Gómez-Fernández, D., Fernández-Alonso, A., Carreira-Núñez, I., García-Pacios, P., Turiso, J. (2012) School children’s backpacks, back pain and back pathologies. Archives Of Disease in Childhood, 97, 730–732. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-301253.