Parents follow these simple rules for a great back to school season!

How To NAIL Back To School, The Parents Edition

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen42 Comments

We at JENerally Informed like lists. Lists make things easy, like our what not to buy for Valentine’s and Christmas lists and most recently some very helpful suggestions that I shared with all of you about How NOT to do summer. Sadly, since the summer months are almost at an end for all of us, it is time to roll out the JENerally Informed How To NAIL Back To School- Parents Edition!

It too is full of very useful information and hopefully you will find this post ever so helpful in order to avoid some of the most common parenting pitfalls during this time of year. So here we go!

Parents follow these simple rules for a great back to school season!

Avoid Pinterest In The Weeks Prior To The Start Of School

Pinterest is supposed to be a wonderful place, full of happy ideas, right? So why would someone urge you to do this?

Trust me, you should avoid Pinterest right now in order to not get sucked into the whole “creative lunch box idea” world that may turn into a temptation.

I promise you that your child will not care that you spent 45 minutes crafting their sandwich into the face of Elmo. And don’t entertain visions that when your child grandly opens up their Bento box, the whole cafeteria will freeze, stare at your creation and give it a congratulatory clap.


None of that is going to happen. The face will probably be squished before the lid even opens. Or your child will instead spend the whole lunch time eating ONLY their yogurt and not even open up the box, dumping it and everything else you so lovingly crafted into the trash can in a hurried frenzy right before they are released to recess so that “mom never knows” they didn’t eat their food.

So again I repeat, do not get sucked in. Keep it simple, pick their favorites and call it good.

Do Not Wait For The Night Before School Starts To Buy Supplies

Take it from someone who knows, this does not go well. This is how kids end up with the scissors that don’t cut straight, the clearance Lisa Frank pencil set, and the folders featuring the photos of characters from “Breaking Bad.” 

Perhaps a little trip the week before to pick up said supplies might be a good idea, unless you love the close-up smell of shoppers. I hope you don’t love the smell of shoppers. . .


Pay Strict Attention To When Picture Day Is

I admit, I  do not buy school pictures, but, and this is a BIG but, you really need to pay attention to when it is happening! Why? Because from sad experience I have learned that sending my child with un-brushed hair and a worn and ragged shirt on the day that was picture day, meant that for the rest of the year every time a picture of my child was included on a craft it was THAT picture.

That picture became the picture that greeted the world as you entered the classroom, it was the picture on the Christmas ornament sent home, it was on the Valentine’s Day card my child painstakingly made for me. 

You see where I am going here?

That picture became a painfully clear example of what happens when a parent misses school and class communications. Even once.

Look, I’m not saying you need to commit every memo your child brings home to memory, but you might not want to immediately shred them either. . .


Stock Up On The Yoga Pants

Or at least something comfy to wear…

I  show up at parent drop off showered and fully dressed on perhaps the first 3 days of school. Um scratch that, if I am truthful, that might be just a little bit of an overestimation. It is probably more like 2. At the most.

Anyways, I start each new year out with the best of intentions, with the plan to show my children through example that I can and WILL be fresh eyed and bushy tailed at the start of each new school day. In the hopes that my example will inspire them to do the same.  In reality, making sure that some members of the family don’t melt down at the thought of putting on pants is a thing, and not near enough uncommon. You can’t always fight those battles and walk a runway too. I tend to instead just feel happy with myself if I am wearing a bra to drop the children off.

Little steps people.


Reduce The Helicoptering

Sending our children to school can be scary and we want the best for them. Being their advocate is encouraged and totally appropriate, but “helicoptering” is not healthy for you nor your child and will justifiably annoy your child’s teacher.


In case you were wondering, here are some examples of helicoptering:

  1. Do not write a 10 paragraph almost essay like email to your child’s teacher on day 2 of school about the teacher’s policy for sharpening pencils.
  2. Do not stand on the playground before school starts trying to referee whatever game your child is participating in.
  3. Do not hover outside the door of your child’s classroom. If the bell rings, and you are still there, you have blown past the line of propriety.
  4. Do not volunteer for EVERY class activity and trip. You will get labeled. And, sadly, so will your children.


So are you ready?


Parents follow these simple rules for a great back to school season!



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  1. All this was a lifetime ago. There wasn’t Pinterest back then, or Facebook, or anything else to get your focus off what needed doing. I did very well. Yes indeed.

    Excellent advice here.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Feline FridayMy Profile

  2. I’m bordering stalker trying to figure out this AR reading program thing. I admit to too many emails. I blame the home school years. Maybe next year I will nail back to school. I sort of feel like I did not. Again, I blame those 2 years of home schooling. In fact, I still have many miles to get out of the home school excuse, right? Sure. Definitely. I’m answering my own questions…
    April recently posted…An Unexpected Blessing and FriendMy Profile

  3. Totally had to share the Breaking Bad folders bit with the husband! That was too funny! Our school actually sends such specific lists (even down to the item number at Staples), that I do back-to-school shopping as soon as the supplies come out. And I also refuse to send crafty lunches to school with my kids. The boxes go in the backpack on their sides…therefore guaranteeing that any effort to make something cute will be more like a Picasso painting than the original creation. Cute lunches and snacks are reserved for the the rare occasion I feel like doing something special-at home.
    Leslie recently posted…5 Simple Back-to-School Traditions for Busy FamiliesMy Profile

    1. Author

      Holy cow! I would lose my ever loving mind with a school list like that and the kids would for sure end up with Breaking Bad folders!

      I remember the first time I visited a school cafeteria for one of my children and I had the distinct feeling that the whole vibe I got was more of an episode of survivor and that if the food survived their backpack, then actually making it through lunch without hitting the floor would be a miracle!
      Jen recently posted…How To NAIL Back To School, The Parents EditionMy Profile

  4. Love it! I too show up fully dressed with makeup the first 2 days of school and after that it is back to reality. Found your blog through twitter and enjoying the read.

  5. Hi Jen, well stocked with comfy (PJ-like) pants, bought six pairs in different patterns ‘cos they are just that comfy! I count myself lucky that Catherine is old enough to sort out her own lunch and school supplies. Although my main job is to make sure she is awake first thing, and for that I need a very long stick, ‘cos she just isn’t a morning person…. Still three weeks to go!

    Debbie recently posted…Sunrise Over ZakynthosMy Profile

    1. Author

      Haha! I knew you would. You are the mommy reality comfy wear reigning champion!! Remember? I think that a long stick is a great idea, because staying out of her direct arm reach when trying to wake her up is probably best. I am jealous though. I wish we still had weeks of summer :( Enjoy your time!
      Jen recently posted…How To NAIL Back To School, The Parents EditionMy Profile

    1. Author

      I know what gives about the protractor!? We forgot to pick one up and on the 2nd day of school went to go get one and could not find one either. Maybe I ought to go into the protractor business!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up #22My Profile

    1. Author

      Amen sister! We have a running joke around here that things are getting serious the second I put on a bra . Gear up friend, your day will be coming soon enough. I will be the one in the yoga pants waving and cheering you on!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up #22My Profile

  6. Ha ha ha! In my school district, though, parents (okay, moms) literally fight to be chaperones. It’s crazy and the kids know it is a big deal if their mom gets to go. Ugh. Now I’m stressed about it!

    I’ll reread your post and laugh it off then.
    Katy recently posted…How to Step Outside Your Comfort ZoneMy Profile

  7. Ok definitely keep this list in my back pocket. My daughter is going into preschool this fall and I’m trying to find the balance between letting go and being there (if that makes any sense). She is my first one to go off to school, so I really appreciate advice from experienced mothers (like yourself) on how to deal with it all. Thank you Jen!

  8. ha! Well in kindergarten I was standoffish, but that’s because I was trying not to have panic attacks in the school parking lot! In first grade, I was better, and even realized that just putting cool boots over leggings (even leggings I wore to bed) gives people the impression that I always look “put together.” So yeah – leggings and boots. And at least one cute coat!
    This year I got into Lularoe so I will be wearing donut leggings at some point for school related activities.
    Tamara recently posted…Getting Your Kids To Open UpMy Profile

    1. Everybody is talking about Lularoe and I have yet to even attend a party! Look at me being an uncool lagger. I think I need to get myself a pair. I hear they are like heaven and yes, to the boots. A girl needs a really good pair of boots!
      Jen recently posted…An Invitation To Stand OutMy Profile

  9. Ah, the cute shaped lunches! Pinterest may not have existed 15 years ago, but Winnie the Pooh’s Cooking With Kids book did — complete with recipes and (wait for it…) character shaped cookie cutters. Those carefully assembled Pooh Bear, Piglet, and Rabbit shaped “Pooh Bear sandwiches,” (peanut butter, chocolate chips, honey, and banana — please don’t just took harshly, I also sent fruit and carrot sticks ;-) ) were a not even recognizable by lunch!
    Wendy recently posted…The Perfect Chocolate Chip CookieMy Profile

    1. Author

      Hah! That is awesome you did that for your kids. I didn’t have that book, but I did have a Kids Can Cook cookbook! That things was the Bible of cooking for my sister and I.

  10. Standing up in applause to you for this post! Bravo! Thank you for sharing especially the part about school pictures and helicopter parents. I have styled many a kid’s hair on picture day when I was in elementary school. Poor kids looked so sad to see everyone else all dolled up and their hair wasn’t touched at all.
    Lowanda J recently posted…Coffee Talk ConfessionMy Profile

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