Healthy habits mean higher marks—and happier families.

Several studies have demonstrated the connection between kids’ health and their level of academic success, especially when it comes to sleep and nutrition. The ancient science of Ayurveda teaches us that sleep, food and love form “the three pillars of health” and the foundation for reaching our potential. Try these tips to set your child up for success in learning, and in life.

Provide healthy food choices. A nutritious, well balanced diet will keep your child’s energy regulated and his mind clear. Keep healthy food choices readily available at home, and pack a nourishing lunch and snacks for school. Avoid highly processed or fast foods—especially those that contain sugar and saturated fats. “Renegade lunch lady,” Chef Ann Cooper, serves up some great snack and lunch ideas at ChefAnn.com.

Establish healthy and consistent sleep routines. Proper rest means a happy and focused child. Ayurvedic wisdom says to be in bed early, and arise with the sun. Give body and mind a chance to wind down as bed time nears. Avoid late night eating, and wind down study time and other stimulating activities (TV, video games, exercise) at least an hour before bed time. Still restless? Try a cup of warm milk with cardamom and honey or a relaxing bath before going to bed. Visit The National Sleep Foundation’s Web sitefor more info (including guidelines and tips to ensure kids get the sleep they need at each stage of development).

Create a loving, supportive environment. Believing in our kids, and offering them ongoing encouragement and support in their education, is priceless. Stay informed about what is going on at their schools, be positive, provide structure, and show interest. While being the best is not always possible, doing our best is.

In our fast-paced (yet underactive) age, exercise and good study habits are also vital to good health and good grades. In addition to helping their kids do their best in school, parents who encourage and enforce these good habits also help kids manage their time and stress levels.

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