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Simple Tips for Creating Back To School Routines

woman with calendar

In a recent radio interview on Durham Radio 105.5, DJ Dan Pollard and I discussed the importance of creating routines again now that the kids are back to school. Routines help all of us know what to expect. They help us feel a sense of normalcy in our lives, and I think we can all use a little of that!

How do you start creating routines?

I talked about how my husband, Craig, and I do a “habit audit” every year. We look at 7 key areas of our lives:

  • our relationships (marriage, kids, relationship with ourselves)
  • health (nutrition, movement, emotional health)
  • financial health
  • career enjoyment
  • faith
  • family fun
  • community impact

These are 7 areas that we decided were most important to us as a couple. Then, we score ourselves in each of these areas. You can use a score out of 5, 10, 100 or whatever you like. But the lowest scoring areas are often the ones that need the greatest attention to new habits.

From the perspective of back to school routines, the ones I suggest looking at most closely are sleep, nutrition, movement and time for self.

1. Sleep

It goes without saying that sleep is critically important and wildly undervalued. It’s a huge concern right now with kids, as they seem to be on some kind of device until all hours of the night/early morning. I’m not kidding you. My 13-year-old can see messages on his Discord chat from kids at 4 and 5am. If we, as parents, don’t shut them down, they won’t.

The good thing is that your screen time function on an iPhone and your household modem can do all the dirty work for you. We’ve had modems from both Bell and Rogers that allow us to create shut down times for any device in the house for weekdays and weekends. The kids hate it…that’s how we know it works ;).

But establishing firm wake up and bedtimes for kids AND yourselves is really important. And then protec them like ninjas!

2. Nutrition

Feeding your family with simple, nutritious foods is one of the single most important things you can do to create a lifetime of health. If you’re not sure how, watch our Eat By Design module!

I recommend taking time to prep the next day’s lunches as you’re cleaning up the kitchen from dinner. The whole family can be involved, even when the kids are really young. We would have 2 people cleaning up dishes while the others got out Tupperware to put food into for lunches. It makes life so much easier the next morning! And it goes a long way to ensuring you’re all eating healthy, homemade lunches instead of quick, nutritionally void foods of convenience.

3. Movement

It’s not just about exercise. Making a point of moving in some way every single day as many times as possible is key to being healthy and having healthy joints as we age.

I recommend at least one cardio activity a week. I like swimming and biking when the weather is nice and skiing or cross country skiing in the winter. Strength training 2-3 times a week is important for maintaining muscle mass and bone density. Flexibility training or stretching as many days as you can is wonderful!

But if you don’t schedule these things in, I promise you, they will move to the bottom of the priority list.

4. Time for Self

[Sigh] There is so much “noise” coming at us right now. I find it hard to sit quietly without thinking of something I should be doing, something I want to remember to do, or wanting to grab my phone to look up something.

Taking time to think and meditate on the things in your life all by yourself is important for sanity these days, let alone health. If you don’t make the time for this, it will never come up for you. You have to schedule Me Time in your week and “paint yellow lines” around it so no one gets to move into it.

Time for self helps you focus on what’s important in your day and week. It’s a good time to review your priorities and goals and see how you’re doing with them. And it’s a great time to let your brain rest for a few minutes before the world takes over again.

If getting healthier is a routine you’d love to build into your life, we’d love to help. You can use our handy online scheduling system to book an initial visit and discuss your health goals with us. Or you can just call the office at (647) 995-1251.

All the best to you!

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