Thursday, September 2, 2010

How To Effectively Handle Back To School Drama

It may be exciting and relieving, to say the least, to ship the kids (back) off to school in the Fall, however I have heard (and experienced) numerous stories about the Back To School blunders, mishaps, drama, and complete and utter screw-ups that inspire thoughts of homeschooling. Most are problems and issues on the end of the education system, but I'm not going to point any fingers (or maybe I just did?).

Our teachers and administration in the school systems work very hard and I admire their dedication...but no one, including our education system, is perfect. If you do find anyone (or any establishment, for that matter) that is perfect, please let me know...

My children have yet to start school. They seem to be the last of the masses to enter back into some form of reality, with a start date this year of September 8th. Others, however are weeks into their school year and have passed those hair-raising moments that drive every parent crazy: the Back to School Drama!

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad First Day Back to School

One fellow mother sent me an email to elaborate on her teenager's terrible first day back to school. It reminded me of Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Let's start with the fact that the bus never showed up in the morning, and then when he finally made it to the school, there was construction still going on (why wasn't that finished prior to the beginning of school?) and the kids could hardly hear a thing all day. Of course, his class schedule was a mess and he was lost several times throughout the day.  To top it all off, the bus brought him home an hour later than it should have.

That's the true story of the 2010 First Day of School for one poor kid. I'm sure that this story is just the tip of the iceberg for Back To School 2010...(Send me your stories to add to this one...I'll write a follow-up blog to highlight them.)

Preparing for Anything

So, I have some advice for you's not "How to Make the First Day of School Perfect"...we've already acknowledged that nobody (and nothing) is perfect. However, we can prepare our children for anything that may happen.

Call it a "Trial Run"

It's okay to tell your children not to expect a perfect first day back to school. Prepare them by telling them to expect things to be hectic and a little messy. I think it's quite all right to let them know that teachers and bus drivers and school administration are all starting their first day, too, and this is a "trial run" for everyone. You could explain how large dramatic productions are practiced week after week after week, and then the final theatrical display occurs. School is similar, in a way, where it takes several practices or "trial runs" before everyone gets it right.

I'm not saying to scare your children...absolutely not! But, how scary is a day like the one I mentioned when you are a kid that is ready for a fun and exciting (not to mention, organized) first day back to school? The kids are full of energy and ready to get back together with all of their school buddies...What I am saying is to simply let your kids know that the first day back to school may be confusing and, quite possibly, intimidating, and that is okay.

Expect Problems...

Explaining that bus drivers are just learning the routes, just like the kids are learning their way from class to class, and that the bus may be late (or it might not show up at all) may lighten up the stress. Act and talk like these "tiny mishaps" (as some school officials may call them) is all a normal part of the "back to school" process .

Most of all, (and if you are a mother like me that will stress over the little details), take it easy yourself. Your kids are going to pick up on your anxiety and that will only make the situation elevated. If we, as parents, prepare our kids to expect an exciting-but not necessarily perfect-first day back to school, they'll make it through the day, hiccups or not, with positive anticipation for a better and more organized second day of school.


  1. Good pointers. I completely agree...why set our kids up for bad days by telling them it will be a perfect day.

    Heather from Mommy Only Has Two Hands!


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