Thirteen Back-to-School Tips For Every Parent

Back-to-school season is once again upon us. The season of old books, new pencils, new clothes, and annual physicals.

Kids love it (until school actually starts) because it represents growing up, seeing all their friends again, and the new clothes.

Parents hate it (until school actually starts) because it represents their children (and by extension, them) getting older and it’s getting more expensive every year. For me personally, the only way to make back-to-school worse would be to start the onslaught of the “pumpkin spice flavored everything” a month early.

school bus
Photo credit: Shutterstock 

I have experienced that season many times over as a student – and as a parent I have prepared kids for private school, for home schooling, and now for public school as well.

For those of you who are just starting to think about getting ready for school, I have compiled a list of tips that should help you survive the first week of school – or at least provide a little comic relief as you struggle through it.

[sharequote align=”center”] Show no fear.[/sharequote]

  1. School will start exactly one day after your temperamental pre-teen daughter gets accustomed to being allowed to sleep late, and at least one day before she realizes that her alarm does not, in fact, wake her up. (It does, however, wake up everyone else in three zip codes before you can figure out where it is and how to turn it off.)
  2. School will start exactly one day after the heat-induced sibling rivalry obliterates your last functioning nerve cell, and probably six months before you have enough free time to schedule a massage and relax away the nervous twitch.
  3. Your children’s school supply lists will include enough pencils to build a life-sized log cabin, and they will still try to get away with doing their homework in crayon.
  4. Someone at Target will stare you down over the last $2 water-paint set that your child might use once this year. Show no fear.
  5. Despite the three boxes of tissues and gallon of hand sanitizer each student brings in, the little petri dishes will bring you at least two infectious diseases by Christmas.
  6. The computer login and password information given to the child with OCD/anxiety issues will not work.
  7. The child most likely to pass out in the doctor’s office will need the most booster shots. The child least likely to pass out in the doctor’s office will do so while everyone is hovering over the other one.
  8. As soon as you figure out what time the bus comes every day, the driver will shave three minutes off his route.
  9. No matter how many times your 11-year-old assures you that she knows the location of her bus stop, assume she is lying.
  10. You should probably also assume that she will send her 13-year-old brother to the wrong bus stop, and that her bus will come and go while she is on her way home to ask, “Where is my bus stop again?”
  11. Just to be on the safe side, you should probably also assume that her brother forgot his lunch.
  12. You will get papers about the choir your child does not want to join. You will get papers about the PTA you do not want to join. But somehow, Picture Day will come and go before you realize that your son didn’t comb his hair and was wearing an old National Guard tee.
  13. Moreover, your kids will be absolutely certain that there is a mandatory meeting tonight but they won’t know the time or location, and there will be no information from the school.

 

But all that aside, your kids will probably love their classes and especially their teachers. They’ll get used to waking up early and catching the bus, and you’ll get used to the germs they bring home. Someone will fix the computer password, and Target will restock the water-paints. Your daughter and her alarm clock will resolve their issues. You’ll get a massage, and the PTA will (probably) give up on you.

Your son’s yearbook picture, however – the one with the uncombed hair and the National Guard tee – well, that’s forever.

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