Time for School – How to Be a Kid Again

September has arrived. I can hear the sighs of relief from parents all around as they send their cherubs back to school. There is something to be said for the consistency that comes with the school year. As I focus on transitioning my kids from summer to school, I can’t help but think, “Wait, why are the suggestions just for the kids? These apply to me, too.”

• Set a schedule.
I do this for my kids, ages 7 and 4. They need reminding of what to do so I created “visual stories” showing them what needs to be done at what time. Make your bed, get dressed, brush your teeth, take a bath, and so on.

Why shouldn’t I do this for myself? There are things I need to do and I easily get distracted from the task at hand. If I put it on my calendar, and make time for it, I will do it. Sadly, I need to schedule my exercising or I will prioritize other things. And, I don’t want to neglect the positive effects and emotional satisfaction of spending time with my friends.

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• Limit screen time.
According to the AAP, children and teens should have no more than 1-2 hours of quality screen time a day. “It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.” As much time as I spend on the computer during the day, I should limit screen time in the evenings. I love the idea of playing outdoors and imaginative free play for me, too. On occasion, I can be found in our yard playing “Noodle Fight” with my kids (yes, this involves pool noodles with no pool) and hiding in our “fort” (aka, the rhododendrons). And, I can’t forget my special pass designed by my son to enter the fort. This is so much more fun, and healthy, than playing Candy Crush and is a great way to reduce stress.

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• Get up and Move.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), children need 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. That 60-min per day should “mostly be from aerobic activity, but also include muscle strengthening and bone strengthening activities that are age appropriate, enjoyable and varied.” My kiddos don’t view this as “physical activity” – they just see it as pure, unadulterated FUN. Unlike my children, however, I sometimes make excuses of why I can’t get moving. When this occurs, I find myself referring to this article for motivation.

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• Get lots of sleep.
This goes without saying. If children don’t get enough sleep, they can be mean, grouchy, disobedient, and uncooperative. By children, I mean anyone between the ages of birth and death. Here are some tips for a better night of sleep.

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• Pack a healthy lunch.
There are tons of blogs and articles providing suggestions on healthy lunches for kids. I am not sure why these lunch suggestions are relegated to kids. If it’s good enough for my offspring, it’s definitely good enough for me. I feed them better than I typically eat myself so I try to follow the dietary guidelines and provide foods with limited added sugar. And, we drink water in our house. Lots of water.

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With the new school year, let’s try to be more like our kids!

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