START campaign – How to get children on the way to a healthier life for their return to school

The START campaign is jam-packed with advice and support, it aims to help families take small steps to a healthier lifestyle all around!

Safefood, the HSE and Healthy Ireland are encouraging parents to get bedtime back on track as the key to starting their children on the way to a healthier life for their return to school.

According to Sarah O’Brien, HSE National Lead, Healthy Eating and Active Living Programme, “Every year, getting back into a regular bedtime routine with children is something all families have to tackle after summer holidays. This year will be even harder and we know it’s not easy and takes time and effort to get it right. To help families, the START campaign has advice and support available HERE.

When it comes to developing a good bedtime routine, Dr Colman Noctor, Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist with St Patricks Mental Health Service, offers the following advice:

  • Consistent bedtimes are at the heart of the routine to provide regularity and predictability that over time will help a child to self-regulate.
  • Reduce screen time and sugary foods and drinks in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Encourage physical activity and fruit and vegetables during the day.
  • Encourage relaxation skills and wind down activities.