Topic of the Month - Healthy School Routines



With the school year just starting, it's a great time to begin a healthy routine for your kids (and maybe for you too!) Here are a couple ideas that can help your child. 

1) Define Daily Screen Time

Once school begins, routines become the order of the day. If your week day follows a certain flow, why not get ahead of the curve and start making balance a part of that flow? We're talking about creating a routine that gives children an amount of time that includes outdoor time.

It's documented that on average, teenagers spend over 11 hours on a screen every day, and 8-10 year-olds spend nearly eight hours on screens during an average day. Research has shown that kids who spend MORE time outdoors (and away from screens) and LESS time indoors (and in front of screens) are more creative, have a greater ability to adapt, and have a better sense of self-identity.

Add the increase of screen time to the drama kids face with schoolwork, extra-curriculars, and everyday school stress, it may be a good idea to start giving your kids a way to reduce that stress without electronics! Which leads us to...

2) Get Outdoorskidsoutdoors

 There are numerous studies that show children who spend more time outdoors are more likely to have a reduced risk of mental health disorders AND are more likely to be happier than those who don't

We've put together a list of Brainerd's top parks if you're looking for ideas of where to go. But, don't just stop at local municipal parks. You can go to many different areas that are set aside for public use, such as county & state parks and reserves. While the lower temperatures can drive you out of the water, they can lead to perfect days for hiking, strolling, biking, geocaching, canoeing, playing, and pretty much anything else you can think of that you can do outdoors. 


3) Eat Healthy Snacks

It can be a trick sometimes to get your kids to eat more healthy. Simple is key, here! Don't go overboard with complex recipes when there are simpler ways to feed your kids after school. 

  • Go heavy on fruit.  You can't go wrong with fruit. Having a bowl of apples & oranges, grapes still on the vine, and even a bunch of bananas on your table will be a great step towards your kids embracing healthy snacking. It's all about appearances. If you show them these foods often, they'll be more inclined to try them and, over time, more likely to ask for them.
  • Peanut butter's great, but don't limit yourself. Allergies aside, nuts can go far in curbing your kids appetite until dinnertime. Try their new favorites like "ants on a log", almond spread and apple sandwiches, and even bananas rolled up in tortillas with a nut spread. They'll get their protein and come back asking for more.
  • Try the ol' reliables. You can't go wrong with trail mix, popped corn, or corn chips & salsa. These are family favorites and have stood the test of time for a reason. 
  • Cookies once in a while are still okay. ;)


198151508 2e9f3bb2bf o4) Get A Good Night's Sleep

Compounding early mornings and fewer hard bedtimes, teenagers and children are getting fewer hours of good sleep. Studies show that students that don't get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, poor mental health and have an increase in behavior problems. 

Check this out:

  • 6-13 year olds need between 9-11 hours of sleep
  • 14-18 year olds need between 8-10 hours of sleep. 
  • Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep (or more depending on physical activity).

Additionally, the increase in screen time in a student's daily routine inversely contributes to the decrease in adequate sleep time. In other words: Kids aren't sleeping as well as they should because they have access to electronics. There are many good times for screen time, however, studies say the hour before going to bed is important to be scree-free. 




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