How to Prepare for Back-to-Learning Success

Young teen smiling and holding notebooks
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Tips to Get You Ready As Kids Head Back To School 


Remote learning, in-person classes, some of both? Whether you’ve decided to send the kids back in person, are going back to work yourself or may be working and learning from home for the upcoming season, its undeniably a new season of preparation when it comes to meal time.   If the last year-and-a-half has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t be 100% sure of what’s to come! But even if you don’t know for certain what school will look like this year, there are still plenty of things you can do to set you and your family up for a smooth and successful transition.

Expect some bumps


The changes brought by the pandemic have been challenging for everyone—parents, teachers and of course, children.

While some kids might be thrilled to jump right back into in-class learning and a full schedule of afterschool and extra-curricular activities, others may not. The noise, expectations and frenzy of it all may be a bit overwhelming, and they will need time to adjust. Some children, especially younger ones, may have anxiety about being away from home all day or even about getting sick.

The key is providing support and structure while keeping the lines of communications open. Talk to your kids about the transitions you are all experiencing and let them take the lead on problem-solving if they are feeling stressed or come up against difficulties.

It can also help to establish a partnership by reaching out to your child’s teachers via email prior to the start of the school year to introduce yourself (and your child) and initiate a collaborative relationship.

Parents may also be feeling the stress of a new routine, so it’s best all-around if you talk about any changes or challenges as a group. Family meetings, anyone?

Start the day right


One way to give everyone a great start to the day is to have a hearty nutritious breakfast, starting out with nourishing ingredients found in Country Harvest® whole grain loaves and bagels.

Try this Egg(less) Bagelwich, with tofu, cashew, tomatoes and fresh chives on toasted Country Harvest™ Everything Bagels. Or serve up a Curried Egg Bagelwich on Country Harvest™ Original Bagels for a super flavourful start to the day!

Tofu Egg(less) Bagelwich on toasted Country Harvest™ Everything Bagels

Kick off the first day of school with a breakfast treat, like this hearty Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast with Country Harvest™ No Sugar Added White with Whole Grains loaf.   It’s quick and contains nourishing ingredients to give everyone a delicious start to the day.

Back to School Lunch Ideas for the Whole Family


Sandwich ideas


Fall is sandwich season! Whether you’re having a mouth-watering cheesy grilled sandwich at home or packing sandwiches to go, with the right recipe, loaves made from grains don’t have to be boring.

Grilled sandwiches are perfect additions to a fall lunch for both you and the kids if you’re both continuing to learn and work from home.   Add a salad or a bowl of tomato soup and everyone is ready up for an afternoon of learning or working followed by a possible a trip to dance class, hockey practice or the gym.

Roasted Broccoli and Grilled Cheese Melt on Country Harvest™ 14 Grains loaf is a new twist on a classic that can help you get a few more vegetables into the kids while also feeling good about enjoying a childhood favourite.   If you’re going for something a little more fancy, try this Cranberry Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Country Harvest™ 14 Grains loaf.

Cranberry Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich on on Country Harvest™ 14 Grains loaf

What screams school lunch louder than a ham sandwich?  Try changing it up with this Triple-Decker “Breakfast Club” Sandwich on Country Harvest™ 14 Grains loaf-another great option for both you and the kids during back learning from home.

Lunch on the go


Parents know that despite their best intentions and their most positive attitude, after a while, making school lunches can become a chore! Two ways to avoid this are to do as much prep as possible in advance and to get kids to put together their own lunches.

Getting the right containers can help with both these strategies. Compartmentalized, bento-box type containers work well for packing several lunches a few days in advance and avoiding the morning or night-before rush to make lunches. Because these kinds of containers keep different kinds of food from touching each other, the foods stay fresh. Whole fruit (like berries, grapes or plums), baby carrots, cut celery, cubes of meat or cheese all work well. You can add more watery foods like tomatoes or sliced fruit the morning before sending kids out the door.

Bento lunch boxes with silicone dividers are also perfect for build-at-school sandwiches.

Pack pieces of bread, sliced meats and cheese, sliced veggies, mayo, all in separate containers or separate sections of the lunch box so none of the components are touching each other. Kids will love building their own sandwiches at lunchtime!

For something a little special that both adults and kids will enjoy, try Turkey with Kimchi Slaw and Miso Sauce on Country Harvest™ No Sugar Added White with Whole Grains loaf. It’s crunchy and bursting with flavour!

Make way for learning!


Whether your youngsters are fully back to in-class learning, schooling at home or are hybrid learning, it’s important to create the right environment for them to study and thrive.

For kids who are doing a lot of remote learning at home, often the best way parents can support them is to give them a dedicated place to focus on their studies amid all the distractions at home.

When carving out space for your child to learn, consider both their age and their learning style. For younger kids especially, a regular spot and a regular time for study is important, even if it is at the dining room table or a corner of your work-from-home space. Some kids work well in a busy environment, some need quiet. Respect their unique learning style to help them thrive.

Young teen sitting at a desk with a laptop and notebook

Even if they have a desk in their bedroom, some kids prefer to work at the kitchen table where they know parents are close at hand. As kids get older, they will likely want more privacy. If needed, use a divider screen, tall plants, a bookcase or curtains hung from the ceiling to create an extra “room” for studying and give a child a sense of individual privacy.

If your child does have a study space set up in their bedroom, you might need to set some ground rules! There will be temptations to be on-screen for non-schoolwork fun or partake in other non-school hobbies and stay up late.

To organize each child’s school supplies, consider a large plastic tub that can be packed up at the end of a study session, or a rolling cart to contain all the papers, crafts, books, pens and pencils. The idea is you want to be able to keep all supplies together but tuck it away during non-school times, especially if you are short on space. Remind kids they are in charge of keeping their belongings together in one place!

Don’t forget the family fun


Back-to-school may also mean the return of heavier workloads for parents. While autumn can usher in a “back-to-serious-business” approach to life, that shouldn’t mean we forget the fun of summer or some of the new and positive habits or traditions born of the pandemic. Even if everyone is back to their regular routines—going to school and heading to work—don’t forget to spend leisurely fun times together as a family—like movie nights, family walks or special meals together. While there may be some aspects of lockdown to forget, others can be saved and savoured!

For more lunch and sandwich ideas, visit countryharvest.com.