Life in the Time of COVID
By: Maria Casey
It’s a season we know all too well. The leaves start changing, the days get a bit shorter, and our littles head back to school for another year of learning and growing. It’s a time known for starting fresh. And we’re not just talking about new clothes (although that's one of our favorite parts). Back-to-school season is the best time to start finding new healthy routines for the family. So we've gathered our five favorite back-to-school tips to make the most of this fresh start.
We all know how vital exercise is to living a healthy life. And there’s no better time to teach this good habit than when the kids are still little. This is the time to make exercise fun. Teach them to love and appreciate how their bodies move, so it doesn’t become a chore. And when you can all move as a family, that’s even better! After-school walks are a good time to talk about what’s going on in their lives. Heading to the park for a quick game of flag football is a fun way to get everyone involved. Or you can even spark a new passion at the rock climbing gym. Whatever you do, try to get at least 60 minutes of movement a day. According to the CDC, this is the recommended amount of exercise to keep kids and adults mentally and physically healthy.
It’s a topic that keeps coming up. School lunches today are more focused on providing cheap and fast options, without paying attention to the health of the matter. We understand that making lunches every morning is not a small commitment, but it’s one that’s more than worth it. And if you have older kids, it's something that you do together or that they can even do on their own. Little ones go through the same midday slump that we’ve all gone through. But by making sure that their lunch is full of protein and nutrients, you can help them stay fresh all day. Plus, you can make it exciting. Cut a turkey sandwich into fun shapes with cookie-cutters. Give them carrot sticks with their favorite flavor of hummus. And make sure to add in some fruit for when they need a quick snack.
Our quickly growing littles need plenty of sleep to stay healthy and strong. And anyone who has dealt with a sleepy kid knows that they aren’t going to be able to pay attention if they’re running low on energy. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, kids need between 8 and 13 hours of sleep, depending on their age.
No kid likes having a bedtime, which is why it's important make it something to look forward to. Pick a tradition to end each night, but keep it electronic-free. Let them pick out a book to read or for you to read to them. Tell each other a story. We also love talking with them about what they're most excited for the next day. They’ll decide how they feel about bedtime based on how you treat it, so keep it a positive experience, and one that they know is keeping them growing strong and confident.
With how things are in the world today, we aren’t here to preach that kids shouldn’t have any electronics at all. We know that cellphones are important for safety and that laptops are usually required for homework. But anything beyond that should be limited, especially during the week and at night. Make sure that the kids — and you, too — turn off all of your electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Or, if you can make it an hour or two hours, then stick with that as the rule. According to the National Sleep Foundation, using electronics before bed will make it harder to fall and stay asleep, and can have a longterm effect. By setting limits on technology, you will also make it easier for the family to find time for exercising, enjoying meals together, and having conversations about the things that matter.
Heading back to school is a time when your little ones are already discovering so many new things, so why not add a few more discoveries to the lineup? This is the time to find new adventures and new passions for them, so let them try everything. Whether they want to try out some new sports camps, take an art class, check out your local museums for classes, find an acting class at your local theater. For every interest or hobby, there are so many incredible options. And they'll have a blast spending time with kids who love the same things that they do.
Comment below to let us know your favorite ways to keep your littles healthy and happy all year, not just when they're heading back to school! And stay tuned for more tips for sustainable living and eco-friendly shopping.