How often do you hear parents saying they can’t wait for the kids to get back to school? All across Scotland, our young people will be starting a new school year this week, and you will be waving goodbye to the stress of juggling your work life and childcare over the summer holidays. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also be feeling guilty that you didn’t spend more time with them during their precious summer freedom.But, with the return to school comes a whole new set of pressures, so how can you make sure your kids stay healthy, both physically and mentally, and so do you? Here are our six top tips, so see which could work for you:

  • Whilst not going into hygiene overload (a bit of dirt and germs are good for the immune system!) help your children avoid getting colds and flu by making sure they get enough sleep, play out in the fresh air every day, eat healthily, and wash their hands. Same goes for you too of course.
  • Do your best to keep up the less structured play that your kids will have been used to over the holidays, rather than having every hour of the day mapped out for them. Even better, make a positive effort to give them 100% of your attention to play with them, go for a walk, play catch in the garden or simply sit out and have a chat. You’ll benefit mentally too, as you’ll have to switch off from other pressures and fully concentrate on them – nothing better than laughing and playing together to help bond your relationship and encourage and support them.
  • Get an idea of how much exercise and outside time your children are getting at school, whether they’re six or 16 – it’s important that they are keeping active now a greater proportion of their day is sat in a classroom. – what can you be doing outside school? It’s great to have your kids involved in a few clubs and sports activities after school, but can you challenge yourself to get involved too?
  • If you’re not having to work full time every day, aim to have some downtime together when you get home from school. Have nutritious snacks and water on hand and make sure you all relax. If you’ve got teenagers coming home to an empty house as you’re at work, try and leave chopped up fruit and veg with tasty dips in the fridge to stave off the munchies.
  • Make sure your children are used to seeing you getting involved in exercise on a regular basis and encourage them to join in – not only does it help you stay healthy, but they’ll grow up seeing that exercise is just an everyday part of life and are more likely to follow your example.
  • Try and avoid over committing to after school clubs and activities – all too often this can just lead to overtired kids and exhausted parents, running like crazy to keep up with all their commitments and not really pleasing anyone, especially when you factor in homework and school projects. It’s equally important that you have time for you. In our home we plan around our “essential priorities for the household” and make sure these are built into every week, despite having a hectic lifestyle: family time; adult time; play time; quiet time; fun time…..and cleaning time (this one is added by my lovely wife!)

The modern world is demanding and we can be scared that our children will miss out on opportunities and won’t be accepted. The reality is that most children in our country don’t want for basic necessities and it’s good for parents to realise that adult only time is equally important for having healthy kids – and a healthy you.