OTTAWA -- She may be the best-selling author of six books on parenting, but Kathy Buckworth refuses to call herself a parenting expert.

“No one is an expert when it comes to parenting,” says Buckworth.

Kathy and Owen

This mother, and new grandma to 9-month old Owen, does have practical, “no nonsense advice to share” with parents who have been challenged in countless ways during this COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ask for help.”

Buckworth says, “Especially during this time, it is important for parents to reach out to extended family, whether in person, on online.” 

“Across the country, back-to-school has never been more complicated than during this pandemic time. Parents are having to make decisions on whether to have their kids learn remotely from home, attend school, or do a mixture of both. Regular schedules will be uprooted and parents will be left scrambling to make sure their kids are safe, engaged, and motivated to learn,” she says.

“As a new grandparent to a nine month old, I will be helping my daughter by taking care of the baby when she returns to her office after her maternity leave.”

Buckworth says childcare challenges are amplified for parents of school-age kids.

If you have a family circle with grandparents nearby, count on their experience, expertise and free time as this unusual back to school season unfolds.

How can grandparents help during this time? 

Depending on the age of the grandchildren, Buckworth says there are many ways grandparents can help kids who are back in class and those you are learning online. 

Some of these tips apply to families separated by distance:

  • Getting involved with the school curriculum and being available to help with homework, either virtually or in person;
  • Providing additional learning tools and opportunities, including games, puzzles, educational toys, arts and crafts;
  • Taking the kids for educational field trips, as schools will not be offering them;
  • Helping with drop off and pick up, in a safe and responsible way (particularly important within household bubbles vs carpooling);
  • Reading or listening to books with grandkids, either in person or online;
  • Encouraging their writing skills through emails, writing letters, diary or blog posts; and
  • Preparing family meals, maybe including the kids in cooking.

To learn more about grandparenting during a pandemic, visit Buckworth's website

Books by Buckworth:

  • “The Secret Life of Supermom – How the Woman Who Does it All, Does It” Sourcebooks, May, 2005
  • “SuperMom: A Celebration of All You Do” Sourcebooks, April, 2006
  • “Journey to the Darkside: SuperMom Goes Home” , Key Porter Books, April, 2007
  • “The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood”, Key Porter Books, May 2009
  • “Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Chicken, Children & Chardonnay” Key Porter books, March, 2010
  • “I Am So the Boss of You” McLelland Stewart, Spring 2013