Once again the time is upon us, as the tans begin to fade, the last remaining grains of sand come dislodged from the places that only sand can find and new school shoes gear up for a couple of month of kicking rocks to and from the bus stop accompanied by an infinite supply of grumbling. Ah yes, a new school year full of promise as well as challenges.
Not unlike most monumental happenings, the ones less likely to survive the shift are those that choose to milk the remaining minutes out of the passing time rather than prepare for it. Some simply find themselves in a been-there, done-that mentality and invariably get bowled over by the unforeseen challenges that arise. Whether it is your first back-to-school year or you live in a shoe; we all seem to know the basics, but those aren’t enough.
Here then are five things that don’t make most back-to-school lists that are sure to give you that veteran appearance and calm the seas for your smooth sailing.
1. Don’t Unleash a Swarm of Questions on the Teacher, Day 1
We all know that we have the most important kid in the class and we really need everybody to see that only the best will do for our prince/princess, but think about the cross-examination you are about to deliver so you can have every question answered on day one and then multiply that by the 20 other parents dropping off. Don’t add to the confusion. You have 3 things to do when you get to the school, drop off, honk and wave….that’s it!
2. Get There Early
This was true back in my days of being dropped off, and now imagine it with the shrinking to nonexistent attention span of the triple-shot mocha choca locha malarkey, four minutes late to their own funeral, no time to say hello-goodbye mom on a mission. We snicker at them until inevitably we are them. Make it a goal to not be them. Be early. “On time” is so 2000.
3. Think About Your Kids Feelings
Even if the beginning of the school year is not a cataclysmic jump, like 8th to 9th grade, the beginning of a new school year is the prime environment for anxiety to grow in. Talk to your kids in the last few weeks of summer and find out how they are feeling about the coming year. If they are too young to fully express themselves, be proactive and incorporate a nighttime book that deal with this topic in a fun and professional way. Ask what they think the other kids are expecting and help them reach that goal, but most of all, just listen. Let your child know that you’re on their team! This will take any loneliness out of the vastness of the moment.
4. Talk To Your Kids EVERY DAY About Their Day
This is not only underrated, but the first item to slip through the cracks after the first few weeks. Most families start with the intent of making the first conversation around the dinner table resemble exactly the Ozzie and Harriet shows they grew up on (did I just date myself?), but then the calendar gets heavy, siblings are coming and going and before you know it the “tell us about your day” is replaced with “there are Hot Pockets in the freezer”. Find the time to ask and listen how EVERY DAY is going for your kid, all year long. You will most likely be able to hear what they aren’t telling you this way.
5. This One is a Two-Fer and Will Save Gray Hairs
Get closer to your computer, I am going to whisper this so not everybody hears, because what I am about to tell you pays dividends over and over again. First-buy Two PE outfits! Not only does this cut your laundry cycle down by more than half, but also your kid won’t become “Stinky Pete” in the yearbook! Secondly-Never buy a key lock for a locker, only buy combo. This teaches the child number memorization as stops you from having to search, and then buy, multiple locks all year long. If they wanted in their locker so badly they should have remembered the number….being a parent is fun!
So there you have it, five things that seldom make the traditional lists but are sure to save you gray hairs or pulling it all out…make a note that I am bald and only want to give back!