Back-to-school already?! We know—the summer flew by, but it’s time to help your kid transition from days of sleeping in, swimming and endless adventuring into a set routine that will make life easier for the whole family. Use our simple back-to-school tips to re-establish a daily routine for your children and to prepare them for another exciting year in the classroom.
Morning Routine: Save Time With Pre-Made Breakfasts
Even if you’ve developed the perfect kids night routine, you may still find yourself scrambling to get everyone out the door in the morning. To ease these potentially frantic mornings, spend some time meal-prepping breakfasts for the week.
A little assembly beforehand may help prevent major stress in the AM—and best of all, you’ll still be able to provide fast and healthy breakfasts for kids:
- Breakfast Burritos: Scramble eggs with veggies like spinach or bell peppers, then add this plus cheese onto whole grain tortillas and roll them into burritos. When your kids are ready to eat, grab a burrito from the fridge and microwave on high for approximately one minute! You can also store these in your freezer, so make a large batch at once and you’ll always have a convenient option on hand.
- Overnight Oats: Overnight oats are a great no-cook option. All you have to do for a creamy, healthful breakfast is throw together oats, milk and yogurt in a container and let it soak in the fridge overnight. Add dried fruit, seeds, nuts or another favorite topping for extra yum.
- Veggie Muffins: Baked goods are a great way to sneak in some veggies. Try a picky-eater option like these fruit and veggie muffins or go with a gluten-free, dairy-free, no-sugar-added muffin that still packs the veggies in.
- Frittata with Cinnamon French Toast: If you’d rather spend time playing with your kids than prepping breakfast, serve up one of Nurture Life’s ready-to-eat kids meals! Our veggie, egg and cheese Frittata is a major hit with little ones and comes with lightly sweet whole wheat bread pudding on the side.
Lunch Routine: Develop a Healthy Lunch Menu
Although your kids will have lunch at school, you can still create a back-to-school routine that centers around healthful nutrition. How? By creating a weekly lunch “menu” with your kids’ help and input!
Ask them to brainstorm lunch ideas and then choose their top five favorites—with a few tweaks as necessary for health and convenience. Set the wheels in motion by offering the same thing every day of the week, like Mac & Cheese Monday, Turkey Sandwich Tuesday, Whole-Grain Wednesday and so on.
A few extra back-to-school tips for lunches:
- If your kids get bored of eating the same thing “all the time” (or so they protest), add some extra pizzazz to the process! Set up a menu board in the kitchen, have your kids help pack their lunches or throw in a “mystery” treat every day.
- Like all of your kids’ meals, try to incorporate as many healthful options as possible. In each day’s lunch, work to combine fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and dairy.
- If you don’t have time to devote to creating your own well-balanced lunches, consider a convenient option like Nurture Life’s wholesome ready-to-eat meals for kids. Each meal has been carefully developed by our team of registered dietitians and can be prepped in 3 minutes or less. Just heat it up and pack it in a thermos, and your kids are ready to go!
After-School Routine: Make a Nutrient-Packed Snack Station
There are few hard-and-fast rules for parenting, but one fact is pretty much universal: if kids see food, they will eat it. Creating a nutrient-packed snack station can give you a little control over the kinds of foods that your children munch on.
Instead of processed snacks like greasy chips or sugary cereal bars, opt to keep healthier and fresher foods around the house:
- Fresh-cut veggies with whole nut butter
- All-natural, kid-approved fruit popsicles
- Turkey or salmon jerky
- Allergy-friendly fruit bites
- Fresh fruit salad with sugar-free yogurt
- Pita pockets with hummus
For more back-to-school tips for your healthy snack station, check out our pediatrician-approved Shopping Guide for Healthy Kids Snacks.
Night Routine: Set the Stage for Restful Sleep
Studies consistently show that children who get enough sleep perform better at school. Staying up too late or getting poor sleep often shows in both grades and behavior. To give your little ones the best chance of succeeding in class, it’s important to set a healthy night routine for kids:
- Set a specific bedtime for your children and then stick to it as closely as possible. No begging, pleading or pushback should change it!
- Develop a clear bedtime routine. This could include bathing, brushing teeth, reading a story together, checking off the day’s to-do list or picking out the next day’s clothes.
- As part of your kid’s night routine, turn off any electronic devices like phones, tablets and TVs at least an hour or two before bedtime.
- Establish a comfortable sleeping environment by keeping the lights low and speaking softly. If your child is afraid of the dark, turn on a nightlight or a soothing sound machine.
For the best results, try to ease into your back-to-school routine before school starts, and don’t be afraid to make a few changes here and there as you figure out what works for your family.
The biggest benefit of setting a back-to-school routine for each day? It’ll last long after the excitement of “back to school” is over. By establishing a daily and weekly routine for your kids now, you’ll set them up for a full year of learning, healthy growth and lots of fun at school.