Every year I find myself saying the same four words, “Where did summer go?” Families with kids adapted to a summer schedule filled with t-ball, camp, swimming lessons, and 4-H activities and now the schedule is about to change again! With the start of school just a few short weeks away it is the perfect time to call a family meeting and get everyone on board with the new routine.
Research shows that kids ages 3 to 6 need ten to twelve hours of sleep each day. As youngsters begin pre-school or the early grades it is important to have a set bedtime with a routine that encourages success. Perhaps you want to target 8 p.m. as bedtime. If so you will want to begin the wind down process around 7. Perhaps a warm bath and bed time story help your child to relax. Planning what will be worn the next day or eaten for breakfast also encourages a less hectic morning when the alarm goes off.
Whatever you want to adopt as a routine, now is a good time to start working toward your final goal. If the summer schedule has been lax, start moving the bedtime up a few minutes each day until your target is reached. That should help make the first day of school a success.
If you live close enough to school can your children safely walk or bike to school? Research shows that starting your day with some physical activity (i.e. walking to school) encourages better concentration and behavior in the classroom. If your schedule allows it, do a trial run with your child; either walking or biking on a safe route to the front door of the school. An exciting program called the “Walking School Bus” is going to start later this fall for elementary students in Hoisington and Riley elementary in Great Bend. The successful program, patterned after one in Columbia, Mo., encourages youngsters to walk to and from school as often as possible. You will hear me talk more about this later.
Here’s hoping your school year gets off to a great start!
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org