Getting Back into the Back to School Groove

By on August 5, 2016

It feels like the kids just ran out (away!) from the school building and you started to settle into summer holidays, but soon it is back to school, work and reality.

We have all been enjoying leisurely summer mornings, having the time to make healthy 
meals and go to the park. Here’s how to get your family and yourself ready for the back to school fall rush in five steps.

1 ) Set a bedtime routine. 
The summer is a great for that laissez faire attitude, but now that we need to get to school/work on time, those carefree summer days are going to have to come to an end. Children between the ages of 5-12, need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep is connected to poor attention and memory, lower grades and mood disturbances.  

Start by turning technology off at least an hour before bed.  Keep lights dim and the mood calm. Set a bedtime routine with a bath / shower, reading, snuggles, and lights out. A cup of chamomile tea at bedtime can help relax the nervous system and aid in a restful sleep.

2) Bring back a healthy diet.
We’ve all had our fair share of summer ice creams but now that school is back we want to decrease the sugar load, which can excite our nervous systems. Overeating, poor memory formation, learning disorders and depression  – have all been linked to the over consumption of sugar. Being back in school also means being surrounded by large populations of germs and in order to maintain healthy immune systems we need to keep the sugar out. 

3) Up the intake of fruits and vegetables.  
We want our children (and ourselves) to “eat the rainbow” daily. With such bounty this summer of fresh and local produce it should come easily. Fresh produce is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. These food choices keep us energetic and healthy, which are two essential ingredients for successful learning. 

If your little ones are reluctant to dive into the fruit or veggie platter; ask them to eat as many pieces as how old they are, cut pieces into fun and exciting shapes, or feed them in stages with the fruit or veggies coming first while they are most hungry. 

4) Get kids active outside everyday! 
The downfall of school is the need to sit at desks for large periods of time. The recommended guideline is for our children to have 1 hour of outdoor activity daily and sadly only 7% of children are reaching this. Try to make this a priority for your children.

Naturopathic Back to School Advice on Nutrition and Routines


5) It might be time to bring the supplements back. 
One of the best things you can give your kids (and yourself!) for focus and concentration is a good quality fish oil supplement. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are important for brain development, mental focus and a balanced mood. Most people (kids included!) are deficient in omega-3’s; so, a high quality fish or vegan algae oil is key. 

Foods rich in omega-’s are; flax or hemp seed oils, chia seeds and hemp hearts, walnuts, and fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring). Consult with a naturopathic doctor about appropriate supplementation for your family. 

Being home with children can be trying at times, but I try to remind myself that “the days are long and the years are short.” Enjoy the summer season and have a smooth back to school and work transition. 

Rachel Schwartzman is a board certified naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and birth doula in Toronto. Visit: rachelschwartzman.com.

About Charleen Wyman

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