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What to Expect: Back To School 2.0 Post-lockdown

This post is an excerpt from a late February 2021 BACKYARD CAMP issue/email newsletter! You must check out this Canadian website for families. I’ve copied some information below about the creative, fun, and smart activities and challenges they share for parents to keep their kids busy, active, and learning.



Here’s what I contributed to a February 2021 issue:


*Note to Backyard Camp Insiders. Although children have returned to in-class school in parts of Ontario, Jane Kristoffy’s advice here should broadly apply to when your kids return to classrooms wherever you live.


It’s not September, but it is “back to school.” We know we can expect things will be different when our kids transition to in-class school after a long break. With that, here’s a few strategies parents can employ for a smoother transition.


1) Expect Your Kids Will Be Crabby:

The first weeks of school are full of hopes, jitters, reunions, excitement and disappointments. Mixed emotions create exhaustion! (for students and parents!) You may find that child’s cranky, needing an earlier bedtime, or they’re just plain difficult to be around. This is normal.


2) Planning Keeps The House Running Well:

Routines at home matter now more than ever. Keep consistent mealtimes, bedtimes, bath time and free time to maintain peace and sanity in the house.


3) They’ll Be Hungry:

With the excitement (and stress) of being back with friends, teachers and a variety of activities, kids are burning more energy. Have lots of healthy, filling food on hand, packed in lunch bags for kids on the go.


4) Brace yourself for the third week of school (give or take). Kids “hit the wall” around this time. Traditionally, when kids go back to school In September, we see flu viruses spreading, and lice. Hopefully, though, COVID-19 protocols will mitigate these health threats. You may also find it’s hard to get kids out of bed in the morning.


5) This may just be the longest March ever:

As a result, your kids will get tired. The rug was pulled out from under us, regarding March Break in Ontario. Although we felt relief to learn kids would be in school for a couple of months (knock on wood!), the reality is that kids have been learning and going to school in one way or another since early January. With the break coming later now, a lot of kids will really need it. Pace yourselves.


6) Support your teachers:

They’ve been doing an amazing job during the pandemic, keeping our kids safe and as engaged as possible. I know, I know — your focus is your child and keeping your family sane. But remember that teachers have just finished a report card period and interview days, as well as a pivot back-to-school after a long phase of remote teaching (which I can tell you from experience is draining, and at times, frustrating). Some teachers need more support than is available with respect to technology and remote learning. Many of them had their own kids underfoot while working full-time from home. They’re already exhausted and won’t get a break — so give them a break! Write a kind message in your child’s agenda, or send a treat to class. They’ll appreciate it, I assure you!


6) Finally…Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene:

Just like in the September back-to-school season, I remind parents to get their kids to wash their hands often, get to bed early, stick to those routines, pace themselves and eat well.


Have fun and stay healthy!


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More about Backyard Camp:


Backyard Camp offers a free and paid email newsletter for parents and caregivers who would like help programming their child’s play activities. Unlike the various blogs that list many ideas for parents, Backyard Camp’s uniqueness is in the specificity and detail of its programming. Our newsletter is personalized to the needs of each family’s circumstances, meaning the content received will be tailored for factors like the child’s age, activity preferences (e.g. crafts, sports), number of children and if they’re living in a house or building.


The content is provided by a range of contributors, from teachers to experienced camp counsellors. They’ve also partnered with existing programs, to share their expertise with the broader community and contribute to helping parents.

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For many more tips, grab a copy of Launch Your Kid: How to Promote Your Child’s Academic & Personal Success (without being a helicopter parent) by Jane Kristoffy, MEd. available here.