How I Designed My Family's Back to School Routine
Back to school always feels a bit to me like a miniature New Year’s celebration, doesn’t it?
It’s the perfect time to set some new intentions, create new goals, and establish a fresh routine as our kids set out on a new year...because we all know that school days can become a little chaotic.
By establishing some dependable but flexible core activities in the day, though, everyone in our family ends up feeling happier and more grounded in the midst of early mornings, carpool lines, extracurriculars, and oh-so-much homework.
After an inspiring summer of travel, we’ve decided to say goodbye to the rigidity that often accompanies the school year and focus instead on simply feeling healthier and less stressed. So, this year we welcomed some new favorites into our back-to-school schedule, and we’re already loving it.
The kids feel calmer, the adults feel more patient, and each of us feels more connected as a family. Here’s a peek at some of the things we’re doing to feel great as a family this fall:
Start early. Waking up late and rushing through the morning is the worst. It's not fun for anyone, especially when the mornings are sometimes the only time we have to be together.
With so much to squeeze in during the AM, I moved up our family wake time by one full hour so that everyone has ample time to ease into the new day without unneeded anxiety or stress about getting it all done before it’s time to load up and hit the road for school.
This has completely changed our mornings for the better, and the kids are totally wiped out by the end of the day and ready for an early bedtime. Win-win.
Promote body love. Sometimes it can be a battle to get your family members to eat a nourishing breakfast and take great care of themselves.
I used to feel like I was always nagging. So, we shifted the focus away from having so many things to do in the morning to just trying to do 2 or 3 good things for our bodies each day when we wake up.
Less pressure for everyone this way.
Some ideas could be drinking a big glass of water, eating a healthy breakfast, taking probiotics and vitamins, stretching out your muscles, practicing good hygiene, and taking care of your teeth.
When I empower my kids rather than pressure them, I notice that they love feeling like they are helping to keep themselves healthy and strong (to be extra fast superheros, of course), and lately they offer zero resistance.
Set a daily intention. Each day, I encourage my kids to “predict the future,” or think backwards, and say what they see for their day as if they are at the end of it, looking backward.
Here’s what I mean:
In the morning, we’ll say things like, “Today, I went to school and had the BEST time!” or “Today, I wasn’t afraid to be myself.” or even “Today, I ate all my lunch.” It seems a little odd at first, but it’s now my four-year old’s absolute favorite morning activity. It makes her feel like a powerful fortune-teller who's totally in control of her day!
Cook and eat food together. For some of us, the best kept secret in parenting is that cooking dinner is actually an extremely pleasurable and creative outlet, and it can be absolutely divine to indulge in it all on your own.
But I think sharing this experience can bring even more joy to all who are involved. While we used to stress about all sitting together at the table every night, we’ve thrown those rigid rules by the wayside. These days, we don't always have a fancy, sit-down dinner, and that’s just fine.
Often our dinners are spent with the girls perched on top of the kitchen counter eating out of the pan while I feed the baby or on a picnic blanket in the backyard because it’s just too beautiful to stay inside. It doesn't matter how you dine together—just share in the experience and watch what happens.
Go tech-free after dinner. With so many wireless devices captivating our kids, it can be hard to get everyone in the family to "unplug," especially when we as parents have a tough time putting down the phone or letting a text message wait until later.
This fall, we've implemented a no-technology-after-dinner rule and have been amazed at how much more attentive we are with our kids, and how much easier it is to connect with them without the hindrance of television or mobile devices clouding up the golden hours of our time together. Less blue light before bed even helps us sleep better.
Our fresh fall routine (based on a few key values) has tremendously helped our days. Now, I feel like we’ll be able to greet the autumn weather and holiday season with the calm, joy, and FUN we all crave!
Have you implemented some new gems into your fall routine? Join us on social media and tell us what helps your family thrive!
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of three little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.