By Robin Hutson, founder of Luxe Recess (For Parents Who Like Really Nice Hotels)
Summer travel is the time to indulge, celebrate, and explore the world with the curiosity of a child and connect with family and friends from afar.
Fall is about every family finding routine again. There are many gifts to routine: it’s predictable and it gives us parents a comforting (but false) sense of control. I always enjoy starting off the fall and new school year with a determination to do better and to make healthy choices for my family, like we get a do-over from everything we didn’t do as well as we could have last year.
I know this can sometimes be harder than it sounds, so I’ve listed my go-to fall detox tips for the whole family below:
1) The Sugar Detox
Summer travels and excursions are filled with carnival-like treats and nights of ice cream, candy, and other things that we consider exceptions and not rules of our daily diet. And since many of us are away from home so often in the summer, we can’t control our meal options as easily as when we are at home.
I like to start my family’s sugar detox at the grocery store. I stop buying summer ice cream, chips, crackers, and anything that doesn’t come from the produce section for snacks. Keeping the crudité and fruit that they like ready to eat is half of the battle.
If you serve your children juice, stop buying it for a while and reintroduce it as a treat later.
From Halloween to New Year’s Eve, there can be so many candies and store bought treats around. We don’t let our children eat food with artificial dyes in them, so in order to not restrict the holiday fun too much, we allow chocolate and baked goods without colored frosting. If I see that my kids will miss out on some special orange pumpkin cookies or red and green cupcakes, I make it up to them, and we bake our own treats so at home with chocolate and vanilla frosting that isn’t dyed.
2) The School Lunch Detox
When starting a new school year, I like to check in with my children and go over all of the different foods that are their current favorites, as every parent knows this list shifts frequently. I have my children list every fruit and vegetable that they currently enjoy to pack in their school lunches. I go over what types of sandwiches and soups they like. This way, they’ve invested in their choices and I feel like I’m able to prepare healthy school lunches. When their fickleness sets in and they claim not to like a certain food, I can show them the list.
3) The Screen Detox
Another aspect of summer is extra screen time. When children aren’t at camps, hours at home in front of the television tend to creep up. Granted, my kids are still young enough that I am the tech person in the house, I know those days are numbered. I remove our option for on demand shows where we are left with nothing but the DVD player. I find that as a parent, it is easier tracking how many movies my kids watch in a week than the 25-minute television shows that they can watch on demand.
4) The Sleeping Detox
Children just don’t get enough sleep these days. Most parents don’t either! I suspect that most parents are like my husband and me. By bedtime, all of our best intentions to be thoughtful, conscious parents go out the window. We’re spent. Many nights we tug at clumps of our own hair thinking “Just stop talking, stop touching me, and go to sleep.” Every family’s sleep ritual is different, but be very thoughtful about what changes need to happen to bring an earlier bedtime for everyone.
Families with children old enough for devices should have a set charging area downstairs or in an area that is away from the bedroom.
I know some parents that don’t give any screen time to their kids until they have gotten dressed, completed their chores, and eaten breakfast – all before school – leaving them with a half hour window before they have to leave. Their child is a Tasmanian devil of efficiency in the morning. My children tend to be more of the sloth variety.
As tempting as it is to let tired children sleep in or nap on the weekends, when adjusting to a school schedule we try and focus on early wake-ups and early bedtimes. It is September and we are still adjusting, but we are moving to a better schedule each week.
Here’s to a healthy start to a new school year!
Robin advises thousands of families who are planning their travels on where to stay and what to do through her website, Luxe Recess. She is also a contributor to Traveling Mom and Luxury Launches where she focuses on Luxury Hotels.
Robin and her son visited Acqualina and loved their stay, read her article about us here!