As the end of the year approaches, everyone starts looking forward to summer holidays and the festive season. Holidays mean long days at the beach, barbecues and plenty of fun with friends and family. Before long, January overtakes December and it’s time for a whole new school year to begin. Keep in mind that the holidays are also an important time for kids to rest and recharge. Here are some tips to help you send them back to school healthy and happy:
1. Ensure adequate sleep
It’s easy to slip into the habit of letting the kids go to bed later than usual during the holidays. Try to stick to their night time routine as much as possible, especially for younger kids. This ensures they have enough sleep to de‐stress and recharge after their busy and exciting day. It will also help to minimise the struggle to get them into bed at a reasonable hour once school restarts. Importantly, you want them starting the school year full of energy and motivation, and not more tired than they ended the last one!
2. Encourage them to drink enough water
With all the fun and excitement of summer, it’s easy for kids to forget to drink enough water. High temperatures and lots of running around means that they’re at higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Also ensure everyone has their own water bottle every day, whether you’re at home or out and about.
3. Protect them from the sun
Sunburn and heat exhaustion are no fun for anyone, and can be dangerous. While sensible amounts of sunlight are needed for good health, avoid too much sun by insisting that they use sunscreen, and wear hats and cool loose fitting clothing. Find a shady spot where everyone can have a break from the heat, or take your own beach umbrella.
4. Schedule a checkup with their GP
Holidays are a good time to have annual medical checkups. Discuss any concerns you may have with your child’s doctor so that niggling worries or problems can be dealt with before the start of the year.
5. Have their teeth cleaned
Dental health is important and it’s recommended that children have their teeth cleaned and checked by a professional regularly. Start taking your children to see a dentist from a young age, so they become familiar with the process and understand the importance of dental health from an early age.
6. Give them plenty of time to relax
It’s tempting to spoil the family with plenty of exciting outings and trips during the holidays. Remember that kids need plenty of downtime as well, and a day at home simply relaxing and playing without any pressure can be just as much fun as going to an amusement park for the day.
7. Ensure they’re prepared
Avoid the January rush by organising stationary and book lists early. Throw away and replace anything that’s broken. Cover and label files and books if necessary. Involve the kids ‐ most love choosing new supplies for school. Check to ensure their uniforms still fit properly and mend or replace anything that’s damaged. This will help create a calm and less stressful start to the year.
8. Avoid junk food
It’s tempting to give in to junk food while on holidays ‐ it’s quick, easy and it’s everywhere you look. The occasional burger or ice cream as a treat won’t do much harm, but don’t let it become an everyday occurrence. Fast food is packed with nutrient poor calories, and is usually high in sugar, fat and salt. This makes it an unhealthy option and won’t provide much nutrition. If you can’t prepare your own food, choose healthier take away options such as sushi, fresh kebabs, a salad or chicken wrap.
9. Do a spring clean
Take the opportunity to clean out the kids’ bedrooms. Enlist their help to go through their books and toy collections. Then sell or donate items that they’ve outgrown, and throw away anything that’s broken. Do the same with their clothing and make a list of items that might need replacing. Thoroughly clean all cupboards, bookshelves and even under the bed. You can then be sure they have a clean, dust and mould free environment for good quality sleep.