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How to ease into the back-to-school routine

Presented by Sun Life - EN

Tuesday, September 1st 2020, 5:58 am - Back-to-school is quickly approaching, and this year's anxiety may be a little higher. Here are strategies to help make that transition a little easier.

Getty Images: Coronavirus/COVID mask school Courtesy: Getty Images

As we encounter our first return to school in a pandemic, take some stress off yourself and family by easing into the routine. We have five strategies for you to try.


This is an important one -- and it’s something you need to start now, before the school bell rings.

“Our body responds better to sleep when a routine is in place,” says sleep consultant, Heather Young.

Your routine should start with dinner.

"Set a dinner time and stick to it," says Young. You don’t want to be eating too close to your bedtime as this will prevent you from falling into a proper sleep."

Young also suggests to eliminate screen time before bed, add things like a bath or teeth brushing into your routine and be strict with the time.

Getty Images: Brushing teeth Source: Getty Images

“The summer leads to late nights. You have to break that trend and get to bed," Young says. "When you and your children understand the importance of a good sleep, your goal should be 7-8 hours a night."


“Allow the kids to be involved with planning their lunch,” says nutritionist Diane Murphy. “I like to mix things up with a bento box. Think little compartments of different flavours and foods.”

What goes into the bento box? Murphy suggests:

  • Chicken chunks
  • Boiled egg
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Hummus or tzatziki
  • Berries
  • Red pepper
  • Grapes
  • Carrots

Getty Images: Fruit, healthy snacks Courtesy: Getty Images

This style of lunch is easy to change on the fly so you can accommodate different tastes. With so many options, it’s hard for this one to get “boring”. Plan it and pack it the night before for an easier morning.

Murphy also says, “long live the thermos!”

“A thermos is great for packing a nice hot lunch especially when the weather becomes cooler. Think warm chicken soups, beef barley stew or even a cold bean salad. The thermos is great!”


Being safe at school is not as simple as it used to be. With more measures in place to avoid illness make sure your child has the right tools and also understands the new rules.

Depending on the school board and age of your child, a mask may be necessary. Help your kids adjust to this new normal by practicing wearing a mask before the school year starts.

Plan fun activities at home or around your neighbourhood and show excitement when they are wearing it. Once the school year begins having a spare mask on hand is always a good idea as well.

Hand sanitizer should be offered in school but a travel bottle is also recommended. Teach your children the importance of hand washing as it’s going to be essential in the classroom.

Also, create a plan. What happens if someone gets sick? Who will stay home? How will you communicate with the class? Being prepared ahead of time will help ease any stress in case someone does become ill.


This year has been full of the unknown. So going back to school in such a changeable environment is bound to create even more anxiety than the usual.

Plan a family meeting and talk about the added worry or stress.

Worries are common as children go back to school, according to Anxiety Canada. They suggest the following:

  • Take care of the basics like proper sleep, exercise and nutrition
  • Provide empathy and listen to your children's concerns
  • Put your child's mind at ease by providing responses to issues/worries before they even happen
  • Focus on positive and exciting elements of starting a new school year

If your child is attending a new school or is walking/biking on their own, make sure you practice the route before the first day arrives.

Getty Images: Loving mother and son, back to school Courtesy: Getty Images


Eventually the landslide of homework will hit! Or perhaps your child is virtually attending school this year. You need a space that is comfortable, free of distractions and is dedicated to learning.

Create a space in your home that is the “school spot”.

Make sure the area is well lit and has all the essentials your child needs. By having a dedicated space, it’s easier to focus on the task at hand. This also prevents school work from being strewn all across the kitchen table or counter!

Getty Images: Children doing homework at home Courtesy: Getty Images

For some learners electronic devices are necessary, however, for younger children, distractions like the tablet should be removed from the homework haven.

There will be lots of emotion on the first day of school! Being prepared is key. Also remember to focus on the happy and exciting moments that occur during the first week of school.

For more advice on how to prepare for the new school year visit

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