8 Summer Habits of Successful Students

In the U.S., we typically approach summer break as a time for kids to enjoy freedom from the classroom, making memories and having fun. However, parents can also use this time to help children develop healthy habits that will boost academic success for the next school year, and the rest of their lives. These habits embrace independence, healthy social-emotional learning, and the development of strengths and interests—all in positive and easy ways for the whole family.

Integrative medicine can also help kids solidify the right habits such as a healthy diet, sleep schedule, and physical activities that directly relate to better grades and behavior at home.

The unstructured schedule of summer often worsens behavioral issues or mental health struggles in children and adolescents, but with the right plan integrative medicine can help maintain their focus and attention, and reduce behavioral problems, like those associated with ADHD, anxiety, or depression.

Simple steps toward success

During the summer, parents are in a unique position to leverage children's innate curiosity and affinity for learning by helping to develop their strengths and interests. Parents can also instill healthy habits that keep their child's brain and body functioning optimally. This builds confidence, intelligence, and helps them become more academically successful the next school year.

We all want our children to be successful, but any parent can attest that knowing what's best for your child doesn't always mean it's an easy process. There isn't a playbook for how to pair physical, mental, and emotional health to build a fulfilling and purposeful life.

Give your child the tools to maximize their potential with Brain Boost, the only comprehensive cognitive, physical, and mental health program.

Unstructured schedules can cause problems in kids

Summer is also a time where many academic or behavioral problems appear as signs of disarray or lack of routine. Children may struggle with organization, sleep, appetite, and emotional regulation (1).

A disruption to a child's normal routine can lead to more ADHD symptoms, anxiety, and sometimes depression.

Children are more likely to become successful students next year when they have these habits as part of their routine.

1. They have a bedtime routine and stick to it

During the summer, it can be tempting to let bedtimes slide in favor of late-night fun. However, a consistent bedtime routine is one of the best things for academic performance and staying healthy (2). 

Adequate sleep and earlier bedtimes are mostly strongly correlated with better academic performance, attention, and fewer behavioral issues (3).

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a bedtime routine should include winding down for 30 to 60 minutes before sleep and disconnecting from electronic screens. Following a routine will help children get the rest they need to feel their best during the day.

Read more: How to Get Your Kids Back Into a Routine

2. They spend less than 2 hours per day on screens

It is important to limit screen time because too much exposure can lead to anxiety and depression. When kids spend more than an hour per day of their leisure time on a screen, they’re more likely to have lower psychological well-being. This includes less curiosity, lower self-control, more distractibility, more difficulty making friends, and less emotional stability (4).

Conversely, kids who spend more time off screens (especially if they're engaged in social activities) are at a lower risk for depression and suicidal thinking.

Spending time in nature, enjoying a meal together, hiking, skating, or playing board games are easy ways for kids—young and old—to connect.

Read: 10 Mental Health Activities to Do With Your Children

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3. They set goals for the summer and parents help track progress

One way to help your child focus and stay on track during the summer is to set goals together. This could be anything from reading a certain number of books to learning a new skill.

Help your child break their goal down into smaller steps that they can complete each week. For example, if their goal is to read three books over the summer, they could read one book every 3 weeks. Some examples of fun summer goals for kids:

  • Learn how to make a meal (cook an egg, make a sandwich, etc.)
  • Plant a vegetable and harvest the bounty at the end of the season
  • Learn about a new wildflower each week
  • Write in a journal

Checking in with your child regularly to see how they are progressing will help them stay motivated and on track.

Related: The Ultimate Back-to-School Healthy Toolkit

4. They eat healthy foods and drink water

Healthy foods and water are crucial for kids of all ages to maintain their focus and energy levels inside the classroom and out.

Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue—all of which make it harder to concentrate. Eating a nutritious diet will help kids feel their best and have the energy they need to put in their best effort during any activity.

This means:

  • Minimizing or avoiding sugary drinks
  • Eating nutrient-dense foods like quality proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Minimizing added sugars and ultra-processed foods

Healthy food helps your child feel good so they can prioritize learning when it counts. Your child will reap the health benefits of a healthy diet throughout their life.

5. They have responsibilities to help build independence

One way to encourage independence is to give your child some responsibility around the house. Tasks can be somewhat challenging, but not overwhelming.

As they complete their tasks, praise them for a job well done. This will help build their confidence and self-esteem.

Giving your child responsibilities will also help them develop time management skills. They will learn how to budget their time and complete tasks in a timely manner. This can make homework assignments and study time much easier during the school year.

Does your child need a little help with staying on task? Try Omega Focus Jr. by Nordic Naturals

6. They spend quality time with the whole family

This could be anything from going on a hike to playing board games to simply catching up around the dinner table. Families who spend time together are more likely to succeed in school (5). This is an important time for kids to build healthy habits in an environment that feels safe and accepting.

Spending time together as a family will help create lasting memories and strengthen the bond between family members. It is also a great opportunity to model healthy coping skills for your child.

7. They follow the Brain Boost protocol

Brain Boost serves as a bridge to sustainable, life-long mental and physical wellbeing. It’s a program to optimize your child’s learning, focus, and cognitive function by evaluating:

  •  Cognitive and Emotional Development
  •  Brain Chemistry
  •  Nutrient Imbalances and Deficiencies
  •  Toxicity
  •  Gut Function

Brain Boost blends holistic health and education. It’s designed to be a customizable and integrated wellness-based program which addresses the unique cognitive strengths and challenges of each child. This individualized approach helps students overcome challenges and improves long-term health.

You don’t have to wait until your child is struggling to benefit from Brain Boost. Learn more about this program here.

8. They get involved with extra-curriculars

Extra-curricular activities are a great way for children to explore their interests and develop new skills. They can also help children make friends and feel part of a community.

There are many different types of extracurricular activities available, so there is sure to be something that your child will enjoy. Sports, clubs, and classes are just a few examples.

Integrative medicine for the successful student

Integrative medicine supports a child’s physical, mental, and emotional health. These three factors are interconnected and students are more likely to be successful when they are in balance.

Some of the ways integrative medicine supports a child’s health include:

  • Promoting healthy eating habits
  • Supporting a child’s natural ability to heal
  • Helping to prevent illness
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Enhancing overall well-being.

By incorporating these eight summer habits into your child’s routine, you can help set them up for success both now and in the future. These habits will not only improve their health, but also their academic performance and social skills.


  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/06/20/kids-anxiety-can-spike-during-summer-heres-why-what-parents-can-do-help/
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41539-019-0055-z
  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01717/full
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214874/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK552668/


Centrespringmd, pediatrics

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