The Importance of A Healthy Lunch & Back to School Routine – August 2012

Although we may not like to admit it, another school year is right around the corner. It’s important to help your children start the school year on a positive note!

According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Getting back into a school routine can be difficult for families. However, parents can help to make this transition go more smoothly by giving children the proper ‘fuel’ they need while they are at school and planning ahead to help children ease back into their school routines.”

Pack A Healthy Lunch

Anderson says packing a healthy lunch and snack is critical to making sure your children will have a positive transition into the school year. “It takes a lot of energy to concentrate and participate at school,” comments Anderson. “Lunches and snacks serve as the ‘fuel’ children need to function throughout the school day, so parents need to make sure they are sending the right items to optimize their children’s potential.”

Anderson says lunches that appeal to children will have a variety of textures, colors, shapes, and flavors. It is important to avoid junk food with its empty calories and high sugar or fat counts, because it may cause concentration problems.

She says to make sure you are packing nutritious foods from each of the food groups. Ideally, children’s lunches should include two servings of fruits and/or vegetables; one serving of low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese; one or two servings from the grain group; one serving from the meat group; and small amounts of food from the tip of the food pyramid as a treat.

When choosing snacks, Anderson again encourages parents to think healthy. Fresh fruits, pretzel sticks, celery with peanut butter, yogurt, and granola bars can all be wonderful options.

Well-Rested Means Better Prepared

Anderson recommends that you adjust your schedules two weeks prior to school starting to ensure that your children have a consistent bedtime schedule and that they are getting enough rest.

The average preschooler typically sleeps 11-13 hours each night. Children ages five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep per night. Anything short of this amount could cause your children to have a shortened attention span and difficulty concentrating at school.

This, combined with a regular daily routine that gets your children involved in packing their lunches each night after dinner, laying out their clothes at bedtime, getting up at the same time each morning, and getting dressed and eating a healthy breakfast together will have your children understanding what to expect during the new school year. It will also help avoid behavior problems and make their transition back to school easier!

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Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on“The Importance of Healthy Lunches & A Back To School Routine” on Tuesday, August 14th, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Ebenezer Child Care Center’s Wauwatosa location inside the UnitedHealth Group Office Building located at 10701 West Research Drive. Healthy lunches have the potential to increase your children’s concentration, so they can focus on academics in the classroom. Well-balanced lunches will ensure that your children have plenty of energy for the remainder of the school day as well as fill them up, so they are not focused on being hungry when they need to be focused on learning! Back to school routines provide children with predictability, repetition, and consistency. Come and learn more about the importance of healthy lunches and back to school routines as you make a back-to-school chart, create a stone magnet, and participate in a lunch box sorting activity. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers a variety of free Family Fun Nights and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, in Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at