Life is busy. Extracurricular activities, social events, sports. Our time – and our children’s time – seems to be filled with more demands than ever, and the demands of a new school year and the homework it comes with are just around the corner. Having routines can help students (and their families) get the sleep and nutrition they need despite all the craziness.
Kids, even teens, often still need help developing time management skills. This is where parents come in. Helping your student find structure and routine in the following three areas can ease stress for the whole family and set your child up for a successful school year!
Most sources suggest 10-11 hours of sleep for children aged 7-12 and 9 hours of sleep for ages 12-18. Falling short even just one hour per night makes an impact. Sleep deprivation adds up, so at the end of the week, that is like foregoing an entire night’s sleep! Research – and simple observation – show a link between sleep deprivation and behavior, attention span, and learning. A sharp brain starts with a rested body.
What can you do? Do the math and find out what time your child’s bedtime should be. Start backing it up now, 30 minutes at a time, adjusting every few days, until you reach the ideal bedtime the week before school starts.
Tips: Try to be technology free for one hour before bed, and don’t let your kids keep their electronics in their rooms.
Protein keeps you fuller longer, and high carb breakfasts can be associated with mid-morning crashes in energy or rises in distracting hunger hormones. Adding protein to breakfast can keep your child alert and focused through their morning classes. (Can anyone say, 7:50am Algebra?)
What can you do? Try to plan for these simple protein-filled breakfast ideas below!
- Top yogurt with quinoa, flaxseed or chia seeds
- Mix bran cereal into Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt is much higher in protein!)
- Make an egg and cottage cheese sandwich
- Spice up steel cut oatmeal with bacon & Parmesan cheese or nuts (I can’t wait to try this one!)
- If your family is full of early risers (mine is NOT), try an omelet bar for something fun!
- Check out more protein-packed breakfast ideas here.
TIPS: Have a teen who never leaves time for breakfast? At least toss a couple of cheesesticks or hard-boiled eggs with a bagel and cream cheese their way. Easy protein on-the-go!
It helps students to have a consistent homework routine. Same place, same time, every day. The kitchen table is best, but there are many other options out there, as well! It helps to sit down as a family with all the sports and activity schedules and try to find something consistent for each child.
What can you do? Help your child come up with a routine homework plan. For mothers working outside the home, ask your school about after-school programs that may offer time or even assistance on homework. Or, talk to your after school care provider and ask if it’s possible for them to help set time aside for homework.
- Dealing with Anxiety: Set timers to chunk the work. Depending on grade level, this could mean 10-30 minutes per subject area. This lets kids who might be struggling in a certain subject area know that they just have to focus on it until the timer goes off. Encourage your student to take a break for a snack halfway through as motivation. (Longer assignments may need to be cycled back through again using the timer system. Math, language arts, science, social studies, back to math.)
- Dealing with Responsibility: If you know your child has trouble completing assignments, include a school planner/agenda check with YOU as part of their routine. Do this as soon as you get home. AND require that they show you their completed work for each item listed in the planner… before the rest of the evening goes by!
While I have your brain primed for back to school, make sure to check out Cali’s post on back-to-school shopping!
Editor’s note: To view Amber’s recent appearance on The Now KC, click here.