It’s back-to-school time for us and I see parents anxiously requesting information on the best places for new backpacks and lunch boxes and fretting over fall wardrobes. Like most holidays or life events (weddings! college!) we tend to zone in on preparing ourselves by buying stuff. Yet, the emotional, psychological and physical strain of these changes and events usually can’t be smoothed over with new shoes or a fresh hair cut. So in response to these lists of must-buy-now-to-ensure-student-success lists here are four things your kids really need for back-to-school.
Four Things Your Kids Really Need for Back to School
Yeah, that’s right, your kids really really really need good sleep. So don’t worry if their jeans are running a bit short or you don’t have a winter jacket for them yet, try to encourage and enable good sleep. Limit screen time in the evening and insist on lights out at the same time each night. Your kids need sleep like they need good and nutritious food. It’s essential. And the benefits are not just less grumpy and more energetic kids: quality sleep reduces their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Change can be hard even for the most adaptable and easy going kid. We notice during this season of transition back to school that even our no fuss kids can have a rare meltdown or explosive behaviour(this book is really helping my family right now). If you have a sensitive child or one that struggles with change or transitions – you probably already know that the next few weeks are going to be tough on all of you. What to do? Give them some extra reassurance that you’re there for them and that even if it’s a rocky start to the school year, it will all be alright.
Lunch. Plain and simple.
This is the time of year where articles keep popping up with ’30 school lunch ideas’ and Instagram is filled with beautiful bento box lunches that look like a boutique Manhattan deli made them. If beautiful school lunches are your jam and something you love doing for your kids – enjoy! For the rest of us: just pack a lunch. Note: I got these YumBox lunch boxes for our family a few months back on sale (Vancouverites: Vancouver Community College clears them out at the end of the school year at a good discount) and they have actually made our life easier. I so rarely recommend products here but these really are great. We eat very simple lunches – fruit, vegetable, something substantial that is easy to make or leftovers – and these containers have made it easy for me to offload lunch making to my husband and the kids. They’re also so fast to fill up that if we are in a rush before leaving for a day trip I can have these things packed before I convince myself that buying lunch out is a good idea.
Even ten minutes of your time each day in the next few weeks can be gold. No television on, no multi-tasking, no checking your phone. Be with them. Ask them how it’s going, who’s in their class and if they have any concerns. If they don’t want to talk about it and then do something with them: play, a board game, Lego, a walk around the neighbourhood, reading a chapter book together.
My oldest needs a new pair of shoes (and we will get them eventually) but I also know that the more important back-to-school items for him are sleep and a lot of quiet time as he gets used to a new school, new teacher and new classmates. My youngest also has a transition this fall so we won’t be planning much for the early evenings the next few weeks as he will be extra tired and emotional. And yes, I have to remind myself of all this stuff too as the onslaught of what to buy for back-to-school is everywhere. It is so pervasive that I even start to think, do we need to go shopping? What are we missing that’s important? Guess what, we’re not missing anything. The bigger things my kids need in a season of change can’t be bought in a store.