Our first post in the series comes from Seventh Street School SK Dad, Trevor Burnett. Trevor offers up tips on getting your JK/SK student off to a great start:
1. Make sure you include an extra set of clothes for your child as a back up, check on it weekly. Pack a spare pair of shorts/pants, underwear, socks and shoes in case they get super dirty during recess or lunch (during the warmer months an extra hat is always helpful to ensure they don't get too much sun exposure). Sunscreen is also a nice thing to include, the creams are better for them versus aerosol.
2. It's always challenging to constantly come up with variations on lunches. Deli meats aren't the healthiest options due to the high sodium content and multitudes of nitrites, and peanut butter sandwiches are obviously not acceptable due to the increase in children with nut allergies. Consider purchasing a freshly prepared ten dollar rotisserie chicken from Costco, Metro or your local grocer, slice it up, make a chicken sandwich or salad with one small portion for Monday, Ziploc the remaining slices into individual portions and refrigerate or freeze them for future meals. The leftover carcass can be used to make chicken stock which will come in handy for your child's favourite homemade soups, sauces or chili that week. All of which can be sent to school in a handy thermos, they will stay warm right up until lunch time if you heat them up in the morning or they can be frozen and defrosted when convenient.
3. Don't over pack lunches. Ask your child's school JK/SK teacher if they will be having 'snack time'. You may find that their lunches are coming back half eaten because a) snack time provides them with a little extra nourishment for the day, b) lunchtimes can sometimes go by quicker than expected and they may only get through part of their meal.
4. While the weather permits, pack a healthy picnic basket and blanket once or twice a month. Make the time to pick up your child for lunch and take them to a nearby park. This can be a meaningful way to connect with them for a few moments and offer them support in their early years of learning should they be a bit timid about the new stage they are beginning. These years are precious so embrace the opportunity to make memories happen. You will find that seeing your child always brings sunshine to your day regardless of how much of a grind you may be going through at work or at home.