As the long, hot days of summer come to an end, there are three words on everybody’s mind: back to school. The start of a new schoolyear can be both exciting and challenging.
It can be tough to get ready to go back to school. But, whether your children are going back to the classroom or will be studying from home, there are some simple ways you can jumpstart their routine today.
Get them ready to have their best year ever with these four simple tips.
- Get plenty of Zzz’s
If you’ve spent your summer staying up until the wee hours of the morning, it’s time to start aiming for an earlier bedtime. Research shows that getting between 9-12 hours of sleep every night is critical for reducing stress, improving memory, and maximizing your brain’s potential. Regularly going to sleep too late impacts your body’s natural sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm, which can make it difficult to fall asleep once school rolls around.
To make the transition easier, start gradually setting earlier bedtimes in the weeks leading up to school. Avoid using phones and computers at least one hour before bed, because screen time stimulates the brain. Instead of texting, try to relax by reading, meditating, or journaling. Exercising daily, skipping late afternoon naps, cutting caffeine, and eating your last meal two to three hours before going to sleep will also help get your circadian rhythm back in shape for the schoolyear.
- Feed your brain
Here’s some food for thought: people who eat a nutritious breakfast perform better in school than those who skip. Plan some ideas for healthy and tasty breakfasts that contain plenty of proteins and whole grains, like an egg on an English muffin or oatmeal with fruit. Once you have an idea of the foods you like to eat in the morning, you’ll be able to incorporate them easily into your daily school routine.
While breakfast is the most important meal of the day, don’t forget about lunch! Whether you’re packing lunch or buying it in the cafeteria, try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar—they’ll cause afternoon drowsiness, which can make it difficult to pay attention in class. Finally, don’t forget to stock up on healthy snacks for after school. Trail mix, smoothies, and bananas with peanut butter are all great options.
- Dust off the cobwebs
Get your brain ready for school by playing board and word games, like Scattergories or Scrabble. Not only are they a great way to keep your mind engaged, they’re also a lot of fun! Another way to prepare is by regularly reading throughout the summer, whether it’s a magazine, a short story, or something from a school-supplied reading list. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the offerings at your local public library to find a book that best fits your interests. It’s also helpful to brush up a little on what you learned last year, so that the information remains fresh in your brain.
- Get your ducks in a row
The best time to get organized is now! Laying out clothes and packing lunch the night before school will make your morning routine a lot easier. Additionally, don’t wait until the first week of class to buy school supplies. Instead, be proactive by setting up a study space in your home that’s comfortable, tidy, and stocked with the materials you’ll need to complete your work. Color-coded binders, folders, and sticky notes are all helpful for staying organized, but the most important tool is a weekly planner. Keeping track of all assignments, exams, and activities can help ensure that you won’t fall behind.
Another way to get prepared is by creating a list of what you’d like to accomplish academically and personally throughout the upcoming year. While goal-setting will help you plan ahead, it’s also been shown to actually increase academic achievement.
Getting ready to go back to school doesn’t have to be difficult. Building healthy habits and organizational skills now will not only help you excel in school, but they’re also important for college, work, and beyond. With these few small adjustments, you’ll be prepared for the schoolyear in no time!
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