Litterless lunches and other back-to-school tips

Back to school means back to school lunches but they don’t have to be the bane of every parent’s existence. Getting your kids involved in making lunches is just one way to avoid lunchbox letdown.

Another tip: follow the recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide to help make healthier lunch choices, York Region advises. Encourage your kids to help choose foods from three or four food groups for lunch and one or two food groups for snacks. Pack at least one colourful vegetable or fruit with each meal and snack. Visit york.ca/nutrition for more tips on packing a healthy lunch.

The Region’s list of back-to-school tips also includes packing litterless lunches using reusable sandwich and snack containers instead of single-use, disposable items like foil, plastic wrap and baggies. In doing so, you’ll reduce the amount of waste generated and resources wasted.

If your kids walk to and from school, don’t wait until the first day to figure out where your child needs to go and how to get there. Walk their school route and familiarize yourselves with the flow of traffic, intersections and crosswalks. If your kids commute to and from school using York Region Transit, visit yrt.ca for schedules, maps and to plan your trips. Download the YRT app to get real-time service updates and the YRT pay app for mobile payment options. Both are available for free in the App Store and Google Play. Follow @YRTViva on Twitter using #RiderAlert for major service disruptions.

The beginning of a new school year is an ideal time to establish a consistent routine at home and in the classroom, the Region says. Research suggests children learn best when learning activities are embedded into their regular routines because they’re repetitive, predictable and give children many opportunities to practice. York Region’s Early Intervention Services programs, for example, focus on routines when working with children with special needs and their parents and caregivers. If you’re worried about your child’s development, visit york.ca/specialneeds.

A new school year is also an opportune time to update your family’s emergency plan. Including your child in developing or refreshing that plan will make them feel involved while helping them understand what to do in the event of an emergency. Check out York Region’s Emergency Preparedness guide at york.ca/emergencies for more information.

If you have a child heading off to college or university, pack a responsible frosh kit that includes condoms, the Region advises. The most effective way to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections is to practise safe sex with consistent and correct use of condoms, it reminds. York Region provides free condoms at sexual health clinics at no cost to York Region residents. Clinic services are available by appointment; a health card isn’t required. Visit york.ca/sexualhealth to learn more.

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