10 Healthy Back-to-School Habits for Omaha Kids
Make this new school year the best one yet with these tips.
The back-to-school season is an exciting time for families in Omaha. Kids will be returning to school to make new friends, meet new teachers, and learn new things. Parents will also be transitioning to kids being back in school and the unique changes that brings to their family dynamic.
Here are 10 things parents can do to keep their families healthy, happy, and ready to take on the new school year.
1. Establish a daily routine for how time after school should be spent.
While mornings often follow a set schedule, once school’s out, kids can often be easily distracted or procrastinate after they get home. Work together as a family to create a daily routine that covers what should happen after school. You might include a block of time to relax, a time for when homework should start, when chores need to be done, and anything else that happens on a daily or regular basis.
2. Make sure kids are getting enough playtime and exercise by making it a family affair.
Playtime and exercise are extremely important for healthy, growing kids. Most kids should get at least 60 minutes of exercise (or active play) each day. Think of ways you can schedule family time that involves exercise or being active. It could be a daily walk in the afternoon, a basketball game in the driveway before dinner, or riding bikes around the block.
3. Double down on healthy oral care habits and integrate them into daily routines.
Was your kid’s dental care routine less than perfect during the summer fun? Now’s the time to make sure they are back on track! In addition to booking a back-to-school checkup, make sure they also have a refresher on at-home dental care habits, like twice-daily brushing, flossing daily, and brushing for a solid two minutes. Supervise little ones and check in with older, independent teens to make sure they’re doing what’s needed.
4. Set screen time rules in advance and make sure everyone is in agreement.
Whether it be texting friends, playing video games, or watching TV or YouTube, kids tend to get stuck on screens pretty easily. With school returning and responsibilities changing, it’s important to get screen time rules figured out and explained to everyone in the family. Make sure your kids understand the rules and agree with them to help prevent arguments in the future. Print out a list of screen time rules and post them on your refrigerator.
5. Encourage early, stress-free bedtimes that allow for enough sleep, based on your child’s age.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important for kids. Most school-age kids should be getting nine to 12 hours of sleep, with eight to 10 hours still being recommended for high school students. Figure out what time your child needs to be in bed and help them plan out an easy-to-follow bedtime routine for the 30 minutes or so before. This might include packing their backpack, brushing their teeth, changing into pajamas, and relaxing with a book.
6. Plan ahead for any extracurricular activities, school clubs, or sports teams your child is interested in joining.
For many families, back-to-school season is also back-to-everything-else-after-school season! Take a moment to make a list of extracurricular activities, school clubs, sports activities, and anything else your child is interested in. Figure out the sign-up dates and see if you can find a shopping list of anything that you might need to purchase. Don’t forget to mark sign-up dates on the calendar!
7. Schedule mealtimes and bring back family dinners.
Missing meals is a big no-no—especially breakfast. To combat hectic mornings, start scheduling when everyone will eat breakfast and do your best to stick to these times. Bringing back sit-down family dinners is also a great way to share a healthy meal, discuss the events of the day, and come together as a family.
8. Organize their new school supplies and ensure they have an at-home workspace for homework.
Messy bedrooms seem to swallow up homework and school supplies! Help keep your kids organized by creating dedicated workspaces for homework and school projects. Whenever your child is working on something for school, this should be at their desk or within the dedicated space. This keeps everything organized, prevents missing homework, and it also helps improve your child’s focus.
9. Create easy but nutritious meal plans to cut back on “What’s for Dinner?” stress.
Keep a folder—paper or digital—with your favorite, easy-to-make healthy recipes. Before the start of the new week, go through these recipes and create a meal plan for each day of the week you’ll be eating at home. Write your grocery list at the same time to ensure nothing is forgotten.
10. Put together a self-service snack station with plenty of healthy options for kids to munch on.
A great way to save time on packing lunches is to let your kids pick out which snacks they want for the day. Put together a snack station in your fridge or pantry with pre-portioned healthy snacks. Some great ideas include pre-sliced crunchy fruits like apples, fresh berries, veggie sticks, yogurt cups or tubes, cheese cubes, trail mix, and homemade Lunchables-style kits.
Have you booked your child’s back-to-school dental checkup yet?
Has your child been in for a checkup and cleaning within the last six months? If not, it’s time to schedule that back-to-school visit with their pediatric dentist!
Dr. Ben can’t wait to see you and your family and help get your kids’ smiles ready for a new school year here in Omaha. You can schedule an appointment at our Omaha location by calling our office or filling out this quick online form.
Not in the Omaha area? You can find our three other locations in the greater Nebraska area right here!