The internet is aflutter with back to school “must do” lists. I’m taking a bit of a different tack…things you should NOT do to prepare for back to school. So many things that we do make us crazy and do not improve our lives. Here are a few things that will bring sanity back to you life if you just say NO.
- Do NOT break the bank on an entire wardrobe of new clothes for your child. Kids rarely grow according to calendars and school starting dates…plus at the start of school they want to still wear their summer shorts and t-shirts. Buying a load of new clothes and shoes now can lead to a big rebuy in just a few months. Buy items that need replacing today but reusing coats, jackets, shoes and clothes from last year just makes sense if they still fit. Plus, clothes often go on sale after the back to school rush is over. One caveat for those living in winter climates…don’t do what I did last year and wait to buy mittens. By the time I went looking for them they were all gone except for the most expensive ski gloves. Never again!
- Do NOT buy an expensive item like a graphing calculator before school starts (unless the school specifies the model). Students will rarely use them the first week and it is helpful to know what kind the teacher uses. Being caught in a class where the teacher uses examples written for a different kind of calculator sucks…ask me how I know. Being able to ask fellow students and the teacher for guidance is worth the wait.
- Do NOT forget to buy school supplies for home too. Evan did his kindergarten homework last year in pen. Why? Because his terrible mother could NOT remember to buy pencils. Seriously, there was a worm hole in my brain where any memory of buying pencils went to die. It is helpful to have the basics easily accessible at home: pencils, paper, crayons (depending on age), rulers, pens.
- Do NOT arbitrarily decide to change up your child’s lunch eating habits for the new school year. It’s noble to want your child to start eating vegetables, protein, healthy, etc, etc but having it be a surprise for them when they open their lunch on the first day of school is not the best idea. Hungry children can’t concentrate or cope with the already huge change of going back to school. Definitely add healthy items and send a well balanced lunch but include your children in the decisions of what to send.
- Do NOT wait until the day before school to get your child back in to a good bedtime/waking routine. This is one piece of advice that I need to follow too. Easing back in to the school bedtime routine is easier if you start a few weeks ahead of time.
- Do NOT send your child to school with presents. Seriously….the kids and teachers will like your child just fine without sending them to school with “please like me” presents. Though one of my friends swears by sending teachers wine, earplugs and aspirin as a back to school gift.
- Do NOT forget to get your child’s eyes checked around the start of school. Nothing hampers learning like not being able to see what the teacher is talking about at the front of the room. Often children’s eyes worsen gradually and they have no idea that they don’t see what everyone else sees. Yearly eye exams are recommended for kids and are often covered by your health care insurance (or if you are in Alberta…they are covered by Alberta Health).
- Do NOT wait until the first day to talk about the first day of school. If this is your child’s second or third year at the same school…move along, you’ve got this one covered. However, if you have a new kindergartener or a child moving to a new school, a drive by the school, a test walk of the route to school and a discussion of drop off/pick up procedures can do a lot to ease new school anxiety.
- Do NOT let your expectations of the “perfect” school experience ruin school for your child. Just because you always wanted to play on the football team, try out for cheerleader, etc does not mean that your child wants to. Encouraging is great but making your child feel like they’ve failed you is not. Remember, these are their school years to live…you’ve already had your turn.
- Do NOT forget to take a picture of their first day back to school. They grow up so darn fast!
Hope you enjoyed my list. If you want more info on what you SHOULD do to prepare for back to school, check out Everything Mom’s Back to School Guide. It is a great round up of back to school tips from around the internet.