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Back-to-school checklist:

Health and safety tips for successful learning


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Parents, we understand. The last two school years have been hard on everyone, requiring a big adjustment to physical distancing, mask wearing, hybrid classes and telework ― all while taking care of the household, meeting project deadlines and keeping up with studies. It’s been a difficult balancing act for all!

As your children get ready to return to a new school year, we’ve created this back-to-school checklist with health and safety tips to help them succeed in the classroom — in-person or online.

  • Fuel your children’s imaginations and energy levels with healthy lunches and snacks. Eating healthy is proven to help students achieve better grades, prevent obesity and perform better in sports. Review Canada’s Food Guide to help you and your family make healthy food choices.
  • Pack power lunches with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and other foods rich in protein. Fussy eaters? Get creative with your lunchbox prep by slicing your veggies into carrot and celery sticks, or making fruit kebabs, and pairing them with yummy hummus, yogurt or tzatziki dips.
  • Research shows that any well-balanced meal, with foods high in vitamins B, C, D3, and magnesium, improves concentration, boosts the immune system and produces a better attitude. Ensure your child gets their school day off to a great start with a nourishing breakfast of oatmeal, fresh fruits, whole grain toast and eggs, and avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrates. In other words, keep those super sweet cereals and donuts out of the cupboards.
  • In addition to the usual school supplies, continue to pack re-usable masks, hand sanitizers and travel wipes, and include extras in case those items get lost. Make back-to-school shopping fun for your child, while being mindful of their health and safety. Have them select their own mask with trendy designs they will be excited to wear. Choose a durable backpack that has compartments to store their stuff and ease their load. Consider an ergonomically correct chair to support their posture if they are studying a lot at home.
  • If you have little ones at home, remind them to practice handwashing for at least 20 seconds. Have them sing happy birthday or a song verse that lasts 20 seconds to make it fun and memorable so they take important lessons with them back to school. To encourage physical distancing, give them examples to visualize what it’s like to stand two metres apart like a hockey stick or the height of a door.
  • Learn how your child learns best and accommodate. For example, if you child requires complete silence to be productive, set up a desk in a quiet corner of the house focused on their schoolwork. If your child is a visual learner, suggest they take computer screenshots or photos of the material their teacher is presenting to use as a study aid and as a reference at exam time.
  • If public health restrictions allow, encourage your child to get together with classmates to review study notes, homework assignments or just hang out with friends. The importance of social connectivity to their overall wellbeing cannot be overstated.
  • Ease into your back-to-school routine by making a schedule, allowing enough time for you and your family to have a nutritious breakfast and get properly ready for school or work. Sticking to a daily routine, that includes scheduling breaks for mental and physical fitness, will help everyone be more focused and productive, while helping your children develop healthy habits for life.
  • Before school starts, declutter your space and remove distractions leaving only room for the things you need to get things done. Re-arrange the furniture, bring in some plants or hang new pictures, to make you and your family feel better about your remote work and learning environments. Simple steps like cleaning your desk and adding some cozy, comfy accents to your space can make a big difference to your creativity and productivity.

We invite you to continue to explore our Living Well Hub to help you and your family make the most out of your new ways of learning and working. Here are just a few of our recommended reads.

Healthy eating tips: Pack a healthy punch into your kids’ school lunches

Talking to your Child about COVID-19

10 Ways to Achieve a Work-Life Balance

Facts about Wearing Masks