While you're making your shopping and to-do lists, make time for some back-to-school health and fitness updates. Start the school year on a healthier, more active note to reduce stress and lower the risk of illness and injury.
- Make sure everyone is well rested. Spend one to two weeks adjusting bedtimes so that kids are accustomed to going to bed and waking on a school-year schedule.
- Check your supplies—not just pencils and erasers, but those important items that improve your child's health, such as water bottles, hand sanitizer, and tissues. Make sure her gym shoes fit and that she has up-to-date gear for any sports she'll be playing.
- Pack your bags for sports practices and games. Make one go-to tote bag for each sport that each of your children plays—so one holds soccer cleats and shin guards, another swimsuits and goggles, and so on. Then make a "spectator" bag too, with items such as a blanket for sitting on the grass or bleachers, post-game snacks, and so on. If you'll be spending a lot of time hanging around at practices, consider bringing some walking shoes or hand weights and fitting in your own workout while you wait!
- Schedule doctor's appointments as needed: school or sports physicals, eye exams, immunizations, and so on.
- Get ready to get to school. If your child will be riding his bike, make sure his bicycle is tuned up and that he has a padlock and a helmet that fits properly. If he'll walk to school, practice the route if it's new, or organize a "walking school bus" (in which parents take turns escorting a group of kids to school on foot).
- Plan a few weeks' worth of healthy dinners, even if you're not usually a meal planner. You'll eliminate some end-of-day, empty-fridge stress.
- Set up a school lunch strategy too, whether that means checking out the school's lunch menu or making a shopping list for packing your own healthy school lunches.