August 27th, 2014

5 Healthy Back-to-School Tips For Families

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Groovy Green Livin Healthy Back-to-School

The countdown has begun. Only a few days left until it’s back-to-school. How did that happen?

At dinner tonight my ten year old announced that this was his best summer ever. Overcome with emotion, I nodded in agreement. It really was the best summer ever.

Next summer has tough shoes to fill. Once the snow returns I’ll be planning and dreaming. In the meantime we’re bracing for the back-to-school frenzy that’s about to enter our care-free lives.

To help with the back-to-school transition here are a few tips to keep your family healthy and sane

Get enough sleep

A few years ago we tried transitioning to a back-to-school schedule before school began. That didn’t work. Now we dive in head first the evening before the first day of school. I’m a bit worried this year about my kids nodding off in school since our schedules are so irregular at the moment.  

Do your kids get enough sleep? Here’s some interesting info from the National Institute of Health:

  • Sleep Facts: School-aged children and teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night. I need a solid eight to feel human.
  • Sleep Tips: Set a sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up the same times each day. Keep room temperature on the cool side. A TV or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction.

Pack a waste-free  and healthy lunch

Children’s lunches create more than 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year, which amounts to a crazy 18,760 pounds of trash annually from an average sized elementary school. That’s a lot of waste.

Making a lunch box zero-waste through the use of reusable products will minimize the amount of garbage kids create through their school lunch.

Check out some of my favorite waste-free products HERE.

Lunch boxes and toxic chemicals don’t belong together. Unfortunately some lunchboxes are releasing toxic dust into our children’s lunchbox food. Thankfully not all lunch boxes are toxic. HERE are a few safe lunch box choices for everyone in the family.

Make healthy choices when it comes to snacks and treats in your child’s lunch.

  • Don’t buy individually packaged snacks i.e. fruit cups, single serving cookies, chips and crackers. There is a lot of wasted packaging and the cost per item is much more expensive than buying in bulk.
  • We try to buy organic when we can. Remember Organic doesn’t always mean healthy. There are organic foods out there that that are processed, contain lots of sugar and are unhealthy.

Sub out toxic back-to-school supplies

If  a school supply list is specific and asks for a product that could be harmful to my child or other children I  have no problem deviating from the list.  For example I always send in a safe alternative to alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Eat brain food

It’s so simple to add a few foods bursting with brain fuel to the weekly menu. Try adding blueberries, salmon, broccoli and lentils.

Choose a safe backpack

Children’s vinyl “back‐to‐school” supplies (including backpacks) have been found to contain elevated levels of phthalates, hazardous chemicals that have been banned in toys, yet remain widespread in vinyl back‐to‐school supplies.

Vinyl backpacks could also contain high levels of lead, which can wipe off onto children’s hands and ultimately end up in the child’s mouth.

HERE are a few safe preschool backpack suggestions and HERE are my picks for safe elementary school backpacks.

So are you ready for back-to-school?

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photo credit: Gerry Dincher via photopin cc

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