5 Tips for the Back to School Transition - Alliance Integrative Medicine

5 Tips for the Back to School Transition

Develop a Morning Routine 

A morning routine can help you and your child ease into the day and set yourselves up for success.  Start with a balanced breakfast of protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates to provide energy for the day. Smoothies are a great option if you need something quick and on the go – you can check out our favorite smoothie recipes here 

Eating a nutritious breakfast can help your child perform better at school by providing them with more energy, improved concentration, better grades, better food choices throughout the day and ultimately can teach them habits that last into adulthood. And, consuming nutritious foods can help boost immunity and overall health. On the contrary, consuming foods high in sugar can cause memory and retention problems, promote inflammation in the body, and ultimately may cause obesity or type II diabetes.

Morning Movement & Fresh Air 

If you can walk to the bus stop or walk the dog in the morning together, it provides a bit of morning movement and exposure to sunlight and fresh air. This morning movement may make it easier to concentrate at work/school – some schools have adopted the research and now start the day with physical education classes for elementary students to optimize their learning! In addition, morning exposure to sunlight and is great to help balance your circadian rhythm (which in turn helps you sleep at night!).  

Enjoy a Healthy Lunch

We get it, packing a lunch isn’t always the easiest thing to do in a busy morning. But, if you can, it will save your wallet (and likely your health). A good lunch includes plenty of vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Think about colors of the rainbow to help boost your microbiome and diversify the nutrients from each meal. Bento boxes can be a great way to give your kids options to choose from at lunch. Making sure everyone gets the fuel they need to continue learning or remain focused in the afternoon should be a priority for this meal. If mornings are too busy for you, consider packing lunches the night before.  

Limit Screen Time 

Your kids spend a lot of time learning at school, and screens are becoming more and more a part of their daily lives. When they get home, they need to spend time reading, in nature, and playing. And, they may even need time to be “bored” away from their screens. Especially in early developmental years as this is formative time when they are forced to learn about the environment they are in and create. Screen time generally corresponds with “couch time” and increased couch time is directly related to higher rates of obesity! In addition, screen time is associated with inattention problems in preschoolers and there is an association between screen media use and academic performance among children and adolescents. In addition, studies have found that screen time in children and teenagers found adverse associations between screen time and quality sleep. 

Create an Evening Routine

Finding even a brief routine can create a sense of identity and connection within your family. Some suggestions include sharing what you are grateful for at dinner, packing lunches for the next day together, reading a book before bed, talking about how your child’s day was at school as you say goodnight. Sleep is vital for our health- it effects how we live, function, and perform each day.  Thinking of ways to create a calm, relaxed environment starting at least 30 minutes before “bedtime” may make it easier for everyone in your family to fall asleep a little easier, setting you up for success the next day. 

 

Other Resources:

5 Reasons Your Teen Needs Breakfast (eatright.org)

How the quality of school lunch affects students’ academic performance (brookings.edu)

The health effects of screen time on children: A research roundup (journalistsresource.org)

 

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