New School Year, New Habits: Small Changes Yield Big Results

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New School Year, New Habits:  Small Changes Yield Big Results

New School Year, New Habits: Small Changes Yield Big Results

Even though the start of a new school year is an exciting time for many students, there are several important habits to establish at home to promote success. By following these simple tips, students will maximize their chance to succeed both in school and during non-school-related activities.  


Breakfast: Don’t let your kids skip breakfast in the morning rush. A nutritious morning meal helps kids concentrate better in class, have the energy to participate in activities, and maintain a healthy weight. Stock your kitchen with plenty of healthy breakfast foods, such as whole-grain bread and cereal, milk, yogurt, and fresh fruit, or make sure your children eat a balanced breakfast at school. Always let your child’s school know if you do not have food available at home. 

Lunch: A healthy lunch prepared at home consists of protein (hard-boiled eggs, meat, fish such as tuna, yogurt, or nuts are good options), whole grain bread or crackers, some fresh fruit and/or vegetables, and a small treat. 

After school: Keep nutritious foods on hand so your child can prepare her own snacks. She may be more likely to eat celery with peanut butter or carrot sticks with a low-fat dip. Popcorn, fruit, nuts, and low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers are also good options.


Earlier wake-up times can be tough on kids and parents alike. Kids ages 5 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, while older children need at least 9 hours of sleep.

Your kids may not be getting enough sleep if they:

  • are irritable or restless or have a short attention span.
  • have much less energy than they normally do.
  • are more impatient, anxious, or defensive than usual.

You can help your children get sufficient sleep by establishing and maintaining a nighttime routine. The National Sleep Foundation recommends:

  • Limiting caffeine consumption in the afternoon and evening.
  • Avoiding serving big dinners close to bedtime.
  • Setting a regular bedtime and enforcing it.
  • Creating a calming nighttime routine. Video games and TV shows are too stimulating before bed. Instead, share a favorite story with your child or encourage her to read on her own.


Much of a child’s success in school is tied to the support he gets at home. You can help your kids get the most out of school by:

  • Maintaining open lines of communication with teachers and understanding their expectations.
  • Designating times for watching TV or playing video games.
  • Observing your children for signs of frustration or confusion.

You’ll most likely get the teacher’s email address or phone number. Don’t be afraid to use it, and don’t wait to address issues of concern. Taking steps early can make a big difference.