As families buy the school supplies, get the sports physicals, and plan school lunches, parents and guardians should remember their own back-to-school needs and habits. Young children and teenagers look to the adults in the home as role models, especially when it comes to habits. Taking care of your own health needs first will make it easier to help your children take care of theirs.
Healthy Sleep Habits
Start with a healthy sleep routine in the evening for yourself and your children. Doing the same three to five steps each night before bed tells your brain it is time to go to sleep. The bedtime routine may be as simple as turning off all electronic screens with blue light at least one hour before bedtime, brushing your teeth, and cooling the room with a fan or lowering the temperature on the air conditioner. You may want to read part of a book or write in a journal as well. All of these things calm your nervous system and prepare your body for the sleep it needs. Talk to your children about your sleep routine, and help them create their own.
Healthy Eating Goals
Consider preparing school lunches as a family the night before. Allow your children to make at least one choice about what will go into their lunchbox and make the meal with you. Show them how you put together your lunch for the next day too even if you eat it at home and ensure it is balanced and healthy. Try not to overcomplicate meals especially during busy times. Pack the lunch keeping in mind the rule of three: Always include one lean protein, one fruit, and one vegetable. Stay with the basics for home cooked dinners too, serving wholefoods that do not take a great amount of time to cook.
Healthy Movement with Connection
Plan some sort of physical activity together as a family in the evening. Take a walk after dinner which provides time for good conversation and fresh air. If your family enjoys cycling, take a bike ride together in your neighborhood. Being intentional about that time for movement together can help everyone in the family stay physically active and connected to each other.
Finally, accept the transition to a new school year will not be perfect. Do not put too much pressure on yourself to pack the perfect lunchbox or get the kids to bed at the exact time each night. Stop making a long list of expectations for your children or yourself that will likely not be met. Make small habit goals that are attainable for yourself and your family, and celebrate when you meet them!
About Harbor Health Coaches
Health Coaches collaborate with the physician, nurse and client to support the care plan in many ways. They may check in with the client about health goals and behavioral changes needed to reach them. The health coaches may also provide emotional support all along the health journey.