Tips for getting back into the term time routine – 2 weeks early to avoid stress!
This post was sponsored by Aldi.
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Just like that these long summer school holidays are almost over. Whether you loved them, or are desperate for some peace and calm at home, getting back into the swing of the school routine is always a wrench.
So, this week we are taking the bull by the horns and trying to get back into some kind of term time schedule – two weeks early. Aldi got in touch with me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d like to try this out and report back.
School is the biggest source of stress for young people, according to a new survey by children’s charity Barnardo’s.* I really hope that by trying to adjust a little early, we can ease the start of the new term for George and Harriet.
During our two weeks of new routine we are focusing on bedtimes, wakeup times and eating well at regular meal times.
From a young age, good nutritional intake has been linked to academic success, with a number of studies reporting that providing children with breakfast improves their academic performance. Studies have shown that hungry children behave worse in school, with reports that fighting and absence are lower and attention increases when nutritious meals are provided. **
It’s also well documented, how important it is for children to get plenty of sleep. For my six year olds, the NHS recommends 10 hours 45 minutes a night. ***
Here’s how we got on and at the end of the post, you can find my top tips for getting back into a term time routine.
At the start of the school holidays I always long for a lie in. By the end I’m cursing not being able to get them out of bed early enough!
During a transition back to a school schedule, it’s really important to gradually reintroduce wake up times with a dreaded alarm clock. None of us like it, but it’s the only way to go.
Also, making breakfasts healthy and nutritious is a really good way to get busy minds ready for concentration at school. I made this delicious Quinoa Breakfast Bowl this week as it’s packed with nutrients.
I chose this as quinoa is high in protein, and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants. A perfect start to the day for budding young minds!
The children were dubious at first, but loved the fruit and honey on top and were won over.
During the day generally, I started to slow the exciting activities down a bit. We made more time for reading and remembering how to concentrate quietly.
I think this has been really useful as it’s so easy to get out of the habit of working, in exactly the way us adults do after a holiday break.
In terms of food at lunch time, it’s a good idea to make a shift in meals, to be in line with school packed lunches or school dinners.
I used the Aldi wholemeal wraps and pittas (which are high in fibre to keep them fuller for longer) to make sandwiches, packed with hummus, cheese or ham and salad.
I served these with yoghurt for calcium. Plus add in a selection of fruit, for essential vitamins, fibre and nutritious sweetness, and you’re good to go.
A great way to get added fruit and vegetables into the family diet, is the Aldi Super 6 offers.
Every 2 weeks there are a range of six fresh fruit or vegetables, at an extra special price.
From 30th August lasting for 2 weeks:
- Mini Bananas (Pack of 7) Now: 69p – Was: 98p
- Mini Apples (Pack of 6) Now: 69p – Was: 95p
- Mini Pears (Pack of 5) Now: 69p – Was: 81p
- Grapes Snack Pack (170g) Now: 59p – Was: 69p
- Mini Easy Peelers (500g) Now: 69p – Was: £1.09
An evening routine is often the thing to go most out of the window during school holidays – ours certainly is.
To get back on track to your routine, the first focus of the evening should be a good, nutritious meal.
I started to try and focus more meals around fish, lean meat, green vegetables and plenty of carbohydrates.
These fish kebabs from the Aldi website really did the trick. “Pink fish” is Harri’s favourite and I know goes down well with lots of children. As for George, anything with a coating of pesto is a winner. I’m happy as they’ve had a dose of good old brain food!
Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12).
But it’s the high omega-3 fatty acids content that makes it perfect to feature on your back to school meal plan as these fatty acids play important parts in brain function and development.
Finally, after dinner comes another chance to get back into your routine without too much stress.
Reintroduce a relaxing and peaceful bath time and quiet reading or stories (depending on their age).
Follow up with bedtime, gradually moving towards their regular school night bedtime (bearing in mind those NHS guidelines).
This was actually easier than I expected as I moved it slowly, 15 minutes or so, over a period of days. Before they knew it, they were tucked up in bed on time – hurrah!
Tips for getting your kids back into a term time routine:
- Do it gradually, over a period of days or weeks. Their body clocks will need time to adjust back to more sleep, and you may be met with some resistance if holiday style food is ditched immediately.
- Get them involved. Talk to them about why it’s important to eat well and get enough sleep and take them shopping to help choose what to eat during this new routine. We popped to Aldi together to pick up the Super 6 offers this week and the children loved being involved.
- Keep it positive. Don’t make it so that this change in routine has any negative connotations. You definitely don’t want to connect that to school. Talk about how exciting it is to be making healthy steps so they can be full of energy to meet their new teachers and get back to see their friends.
- Set an alarm clock. I know, this is SO boring if they’ve been having a lie in BUT it’s really needed to practise those early starts. Again, get it to the time it needs to be gradually. I used this as a chance to pop to Aldi early in the day as we were all up and dressed in good time for a change!
- Factor in some quiet down time during the transition. If you’ve been busy out and about for weeks, schedule in some time to do some quiet activities that require concentration. So reading, colouring or anything similar which gives them a chance to remember how to concentrate in a classroom type setting.
- Rewards. It’s a nice idea to reward children for making these changes, going to bed on time etc. Perhaps with something new that they might need for school anyway. New funky water bottles are what I’m planning to use.
- Spend some time preparing for the new school year. This is a good opportunity to check you have uniform, PE Kits etc ready as part of getting back to the routine. I find it concentrates the mind and reminds them to get back into the swing of packing bags.
I hope those tips were useful. I’d love to hear any advice from you as to how you get your children back into the routine after the summer holidays. Please let me know below. Thanks!
* Source: TES 2018 – tes.com/news/school-main-cause-stress-children
*** Source: NHS – nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-much-sleep-do-kids-need