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Is your child not ready to say goodbye to the school holidays yet? These tips show how parents can help their kids adjust to the new school year.

School-age children have had a tempting taste of freedom over the summer and are now returning to the more structured but familiar classroom environment, while new Kindergartners are just dipping into a brand new world. Both groups will need some time to adjust and find their groove.

You, the parents, can help enormously. 


Routines Matter

Learning, socializing, following rules and sitting still for a large portion of the day — these are all aspects of school that require focus, organization, and fuel. Parenting experts frequently talk about the importance of routines, but preschool children and those on school holidays can certainly thrive without them. When school starts and a child is compelled to live in accordance with a predetermined schedule, routines really do matter.

Enough sleep, a healthy and balanced diet, family dinners, and proper organization can all make a very large difference in a child's behavior and ability to retain new information and concepts.

Sleep

Is your elementary-aged child getting enough sleep? The National Sleep Foundations says that school children aged between five and 10 need 10 to 11 hours sleep a night. They might seem fine if they get less at first, but if children don't get a sufficient amount of sleep their attitude and performance will sink. Is your kid a night owl by nature, and are they really going to bed too late?

Gradually lowering the kid's bedtime will be easier on the both of you than trying to bring the time forward an hour or more all at once. 

Food For Thought

Have you ever tried to carry out a complex task on an empty stomach, or after a few weeks of eating mainly junk foods? You will know that body and mind both suffer when you don't eat as well as you should. For school-aged children, who are both growing and learning constantly, a healthy and balanced diet should always be a priority. 

Omega 3 fatty acids are especially associated with brain power. A English study showed that children between the ages of six and 12 who were given a drink that contained omega 3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, B12 and C performed better than a control group who didn't have this benefit. Scores on verbal intelligence, learning and memory tests were significantly better after six months and a year

The right diet really does become food for thought, in other words. But it's not just what a school kid eats that matters — it is also how. Studies have shown that children who eat at least one meal of the day together with their family reap the benefits.
Family meals strengthen the bond between parents and children, foster communication skills (providing you have conversations at the dinner table), lead to higher levels of physical activity and increase overall well-being. 
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