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Yes, it is that time of season.  Kids go back to school.  That means, new schedules, backpacks, and of course lunch/snacks.

Here are a few tips, and some research that you may find interesting and helpful.


Has anyone noticed how over-scheduled we are in our North American society currently? It is important to manage a schedule of activities that are fun and creative to allow our next generation to grow and learn, but it has been shown that over-scheduling is really stressful on kids.

There was a study that was conducted on homework.  The question was, ‘Is homework necessary for academic success?’

In a 2012 media release from the Australian Institute of Family studies, it was reported 95% of Australian ten to eleven year olds get homework.  In the USA, six to eight year olds who were assigned homework every night went from 34% in 1997 to 64% in 2002.  The increase in homework was not associated with any increase in scores on achievement tests.  Also, many countries with the highest scoring students on achievement tests such as, Japan, Denmark, and Czech Republic have teachers who assign little homework.  Whereas, countries such as Greece, Thailand and Iran, where students have some of the worst average results, have teachers who assign a lot of homework.

So what should we do?

90% of stimulation to the brain comes from movement of the spine. Our brains work better when we move regularly.  It is really important that kids get out and play, move around and use their imaginations.

Finally, do you know what the most accurate predictor of academic success in primary school is?

*** Having meals together as a family is the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems for children aged three to twelve years old.


  • Padded straps on shoulders that fit snugly between both shoulder blades
  • Wear both straps
  • Get a backpack that is a reasonable size for the person – not too big, nor too small
  • When packing a backpack – keep heavier books/materials closer to the back/spine and smaller items in the front or pockets of the backpack
  • Make sure the backpack is level with the hips as much as possible – wearing backpack incorrectly promotes poor posture
  • The weight of the backpack should not exceed 5-10% of the bodyweight
  • Secure waist strap for even distribution




There is one point I would like to make about nutrition, and it is making sure your kids eat breakfast.  Many kids (and adults) skip breakfast, usually because they can not stomach it before school/work.  Then they are hungry by midmorning and eat everything in their lunchbox all at once, or most of it. By the time they hit the afternoon, or get home, they are craving energy-rich foods like chips and cakes.  (Energy-rich meaning sugar/carbs, because the body believes it is in a ‘starve’ mode.)

Research studies have shown that skipping meals causes the body to think it is starving, and the body slows down the metabolism.  It is then more likely to convert foods into fats to store energy for future lean times.  (This does not include intermittent fasting studies, which is another topic in itself.)

Kids who eat breakfast learn and concentrate better at school.  Try to encourage your kids to eat, even a little something, in the morning before school, like a handful of nuts, or some fruit/veggies.  This will usually help kick the brain and body into gear and carry him/her over until she can have something to eat at recess.




  1. Hofferth, S. and Sandberg, J.F., How American children spent their time.  J Marriage and Family, (2002) Feb
  1. Hofferth, S. Changes in American children’s time – 1997 to 2003.  Electron Int J Time Use Res, (2009) Jan 1
  1. Baker, D. and LeTendre, G. National differences, global similarities: world culture and the future of schooling. (2005) Standford University Press
  1. Fruh, S., et al. The surprising benefits of the family meal. J Nurse Practitioners, (2011) Jan
  1. Snow, C.E. and Beals, D.E. Mealtime talk that supports literacy development.  New Dir Child Adolesc Dev, (2006) Spring
  1. Larson, et al.  Forms and functions of family mealtimes:  multidisciplinary perspectives.  New Dir Child Adolesc Dev, (2006) Spring
  1. The Importance of Family Dinners V. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, (2009) Sept
  1. Eisenberg, M., et al. Correlations between family meals and psychosocial well-being among adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, (2004) (158)
  1. USDA Role of Nutrition in Learning and Behavior: a Resource List for Professionals. (2011) August
  1. Donin, A.S., et al. Regular breakfast consumption and type 2 diabetes risk markers in 9 to 10 year old children in the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE): A Cross-Sectional Analysis. PLOS Medicine, (2014)
  1. Rampersaud, G.C., et al.  Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents.  J Am Diet Assoc, (2005) May