Learning Tips

Back-to-School Brain Boost: Tips for School Year Nutrition and Sleep

Support your child’s return to school than by starting the year off right with good nutrition and sleep. Read our practical suggestions to make that happen.

Another school year is here, and what better way to support your child’s return than by starting the year off right with good nutrition and sleep. Nutrition and sleep are both factors that are highly involved in your child’s cognitive retention and success in learning new skills.

It sounds great in theory, but what are some practical suggestions you can actually use?

We’re diving into ideas for packing healthy lunches with the nutrients your child’s developing brain needs, along with ways you can create an appropriate and consistent sleep schedule for the start of the year.

Healthy Lunches with Brain-Boosting Nutrients

Packing your child’s school lunch can give you greater control over what brain-boosting foods they’re getting during the day. Below you’ll find a list of some foods you might want to add to the lunch box.

Brain Food: Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects nervous membranes. Plus it has thiamin to help the brain and nervous system use glucose for energy.

Pack in a school lunch:

  • A peanut butter and banana sandwich

  • Apple slices with a side of peanut butter to dip in

  • A salad with a handful of peanuts

Brain Food: Berries Studies have shown memory can be improved from the extracts of blueberries and strawberries. Berries in general have high levels of antioxidants, especially vitamins C, and some seeds from berries have good omega-3 fats.

Pack in a school lunch:

  • Create a yogurt parfait layered with berries

  • A small salad topped with berries and nuts

  • A fruit salad with a mix of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries

  • Berries are sweet on their own - serve them as is

Brain Food: Colorful Veggies Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots - oh my! Vegetables that have a rich color are the best sources of antioxidants that keep brain cells strong and healthy.

Pack in a school lunch:

  • A side of baby carrots and tiny tomatoes

  • A spinach salad full of delicious other brain foods (berries and walnuts)

  • A veggie roll-up on a wheat wrap with hummus

  • Pumpkin muffins

  • Pesto pasta salad with tomatoes and cucumbers

Creating a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Creating a Consistent Sleep Schedule

According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-aged children (ages 6-13) are recommended to have 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night. At the end of summer, later bedtimes will need to be pushed back in order for children to still get the recommended hours of sleep.

Find some tips for creating a consistent school sleep schedule below. 

Getting Back on Schedule

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you work with your child to return to a school appropriate sleep schedule around two weeks before school starts. Every night, set the bedtime a bit earlier, and every morning, have them incrementally wake up earlier. Aim for the bedtime and wake-up time to give your child enough hours of sleep.

Maintaining a Consistent Sleep Schedule

There are a few ways your can encourage a consistent sleep schedule during the school year:

  • Limit electronic time before bed

  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine for your children, such as making “quiet time”, bath time, story time, or something unique to you, part of the routine

  • The best temperature for sleep is between 60-68 degrees. Cool your house at night before bedtime to make sure the sleep your child gets will be good.

  • Make sure their bedroom is a peaceful area by limiting electronic distractions and making sure their bed is comfortable

Boosting Your Child’s Brain at Home

If you’re looking for a way to continue your child’s learning at home by playing a fun and engaging game for the whole family, learn more about Blocks Rock! by clicking here.

Resources:

Brain Food Ideas: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/brain-foods-for-children#4

Sleep Facts:

https://sleepbetter.org/10-tips-better-back-to-school-sleep/

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/back-school-sleep-tips-0

https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need

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