A healthy work-life routine, including a set bedtime, meal planning, and being a good role model, goes a long way to raising a happy child.
While the long Easter weekend was a much-needed break for many parents, it can be a complete disruption of a child’s typical routine. And the truth is that most children thrive on a stable daily timetable – which may explain the tantrums and squabbles which may surface this week. It’s now back to school and back to work, which means you can focus on carving out a healthy work-life routine for everyone in the household so you can approach this month feeling secure, confident, and excited for what it holds.
Here are five things to address as you channel your family into a healthy work-life routine:
Set a proper bedtime routine
Children should be getting at least eight hours of sleep a night. The younger the child, the more sleep they need. Waking up earlier for school means that they’ll need to get to bed earlier too, so bear this in mind and implement earlier bedtimes. Beyond ensuring they’re not falling asleep during class, sleep has proven benefits for all, including reducing obesity, improving attention spans, and improving mental health.
Ditch the junk food
Whether it was that tin of cookies you kept dipping into, or all those Easter eggs you nibbled on, we all ate less healthy than we should have over the long weekend. The same applies to our children: they probably drank more fizzy drinks and ate fewer veggies than they should have – so now’s the time to switch back to healthier eating! Get them involved in meal planning and when it comes to stocking up on lunchbox snacks: biltong, popcorn, nuts, and dried fruit may be old favourites but why not try carrot sticks and hummus, or flavoured cottage cheese and biscuits? Kids love variety and the more new things they try, the more adventurous they’ll become with food in general.
Be picky with extra murals
It’s time to plan what your kids will be doing in the afternoons, and while it’s tempting to sign them up for Judo, flute lessons, soccer, maths programmes, and public speaking, the truth is that overscheduling our children is detrimental to both their development and their happiness. If your kids are older, sit down and discuss this with them. What do they truly enjoy doing? What would be beneficial for them in the long run? Most importantly, ensure they still have free afternoons in which to rest, play and imagine.
Let your kids help with chores
Many studies link success in adulthood to those who did household chores as children. Giving kids responsibilities at home helps immensely in terms of how they approach school – whether it’s about taking care of their possessions or working with others in a group. Beyond simply picking up after themselves and making their beds, kids can also get involved in caring for pets, washing the dishes, or simply helping unpack the groceries when you get home from the shops. Start the new year with a few new chores for them and try incorporating these into the daily routine.
Be a good role model
There’s no better way to show your children how to maintain a healthy work/life balance than to model it yourself. As their parent, and ultimate role model, you need to show them that a healthy life involves making time for work, rest, exercise, and socialising, so start the year doing that very thing yourself. Diarise time to head to the gym, choose which relationships you want to focus on,S and cut out those negative parts of your life you don’t need, from habits to clients. They’ll witness this and learn valuable lessons from your behaviour.