Kong Academy | Empowering Kids Through Play

Back 2 School: Crafting Healthy Habits for Back-To-School Success

After summer’s relaxed routines, the back-to-school rush often comes as a shock to our systems. Ours and our kids’ systems. The abrupt schedule change can disrupt sleep, activity, and eating patterns for kids and parents alike!

Heading back to the new school year with healthy habits in place makes for an easier adjustment. Try these 5 tips to create positive routines:

1. Solidify Bedtime and Wake-Up Calls

Begin adjusting bedtime and wakeup about 2 weeks prior to school to ease into an appropriate schedule. Elementary school kids need 9-12 hours of sleep. Given school hours, aim for bedtime (and lights out) at around 8-8:30pm and alarms between 6:30-7am. Adjust these times depending on whether your kid leans more towards the 9 hour or the 12 hours need for sleep. Don’t forget to consider your own needs! Want to enjoy a “kid-free” evening? 8pm bedtime sounds perfect!

2. Plan Meals Strategically

Get kids involved in planning weekly breakfasts and lunches so healthy choices become a habit. Have THEM pack their lunch the night before. Do yourself a favor and start at the elementary school age. Otherwise, you’ll still be packing lunch and snacks for your High Schooler!

Prepare grab-and-go snacks like yogurt, fruits, and nuts to avoid hunger pangs.

3. Schedule Daily Exercise

Don’t let sports, movement, and free play end with summer! Work physical activity into each day before or after school to maintain energy and focus. Make a weekly commitment, like bike rides, playground trips, or family walks. Need more ideas and want to make it as easy on yourself as possible? Join Kong Empowered Kids and let us do the work!

4. Adjust Screen Time Rules

Create technology guidelines for school nights, especially around powering down before bed. Screens too close to bedtime make it harder for your kids to fall asleep and can be disruptive to their sleep patterns. Setting boundaries will not only help your kids get the rest they need but teach them healthy habits they’ll carry with them their whole lives. A good rule of thumb is to stop screens for at least one hour before bed.

The easiest way to avoid screens before bedtime is to stick to the good old book. If you stopped reading to your kids, consider starting it again. They love it, no matter their age!

5. Make Mornings Easy

Simplify morning decision fatigue by laying out school clothes, packing backpacks and prepping lunches every evening. Create checklists kids can follow to stay on track. Remember from one of our previous blog posts that everything that’s made visual is easier for kids to follow.

By strategically implementing new back-to-school habits around sleep, nutrition and exercise, you’ll start the year off on the right foot. Maintaining healthy routines takes early commitment and consistency, but pays off all year long! It will also help your child develop a strong foundation of healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their life. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and staying physically active are key to supporting growth, focus, and academic performance. Establishing these habits at a young age makes it more likely your child will continue them into adulthood, leading to better long-term physical and mental health outcomes.

So take advantage of the back-to-school season to put good routines in place – it’s an investment in your child’s future wellbeing.

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