Healthy Life: 10 Back to school tips from Brain Friendly Learning

Though the sun is still shining and the weather is warm, that feeling of “Back to School” is very much present in our minds. It can be challenging, for both parents and children, to mentally shift and gear up for “back to school”. On that note, here are some tips that can help us all regain the momentum and focus we need as we steer into the new school year. 

Get organized: Create and implement systems to start off the academic year with structure. For example: develop a colour-coding system for school supplies, design a calendar system, and create a calming and decluttered workspace for homework and studying. 

Get refreshed: Many children fear that they will not remember what was taught to them last year. Taking some time before the year starts to refresh and review concepts that will be taught at the beginning of the year will allow your kids to enter their classroom with confidence and motivation. 

Get reading: Reading before the year begins is definitely a tone-setter for the next ten months. Some children may choose to read independently or with a parent. In either case, there will be a surge of mental stimulation and academic nourishment. 

Back to school also means packing lunches, which can certainly be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help alleviate that stress and ensure that you are providing the nutrients your kids need to stay energized and focused throughout the day:

Get Planning: Sit down with your kids over the weekend and plan what will go into their lunches for the week. Look online for new and fun ideas, or make extra food at dinner and serve leftovers for lunch. This will not only save you time at the grocery store but will also minimize the (unwanted) lunch complaints when the kids come home!

Get your fruits and veggies: Each lunch box should include fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks and lunch. Encourage your kids to finish these first before eating any “treat”.

Get that protein: Hard boiled eggs, tuna, grilled chicken strips, turkey, cheese, yogurt, hummus, allergy-safe soy-nut butter, even meat sauces over pasta and hearty lentil soups are excellent sources of protein. These options will help boost brain performance as well as focus while also keeping their tummies feeling full.

Get complex (carbohydrates): Whole grain, unprocessed breads, quinoa, pasta, rice and couscous are excellent energy sources to keep kids fuelled throughout their day.

Get water: Water should always be the drink of choice as opposed to juice boxes or soft drinks.

Get treats: Kids like a little ”junky food” in their lunch boxes. Teach them that this is ok, so long as the treats are consumed in moderation.

Finally, get the kids involved. Helping to pack their own lunches will not only teach them responsibility but will make them gravitate towards the healthy options that they chose to include. 

Ilana Chernack B.Ed., M.Ed.Psych and Jennifer Abdulezer P.Dt, for Brain Friendly Learning, a child and family-focused educational and wellness center located in Westmount since 2014.