Someone just asked me, “Meghan, what do you what parents to know before they send their little ones off to school?” Here you go:

  • Look at your children with a calm and loving face. If you are going to cry, well go ahead and cry, but try to keep the worst of it for the car. Why? That child wants and NEEDS for your face to show confidence. He is not sure he can do this, so you are the person to communicate, “I love you, you got this, I believe in you.” Then go sob your eyeballs out in the car.
  • No Comparisons. Other children will be more talented than your child. Others will be able to read better, play soccer better, will be prettier, more well spoken, more potty-trained, sit more quietly for longer periods of time. OR, your children will appear to be light-years ahead of the others. None of this matters. At all. Your child is just right, just the way he or she is. Any comparison is futile and mean, and only serves to highlight perceived deficiencies, thus making them worse. No Comparisons.
  • Sleep. However much you think you or the kids need, add another hour. I know it ain’t pretty after a summer break to lay down the rules, but sleep is as critical as anything you can give your child for her learning and welfare. Yours, too.
  • Eat. Eat and give foods (to your children) that you can pull out of the ground or recognize in its natural state. Whole, good foods helps stabilize the crazy yanking around sugar can do to a little brain…more sugar equals more mood swings…which leads to:
  • Be ready for exhaustion and crankiness. Yours and his. Your child is working his little butt off to be an exemplary child in school, so you are going to bear the brunt of his exhaustion. It isn’t personal. He is doing his best. Cut him some slack, and for the love of Pete, DO NOT SCHEDULE ANYTHING YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR OR CANNOT EASILY BACK OUT OF (after school, especially).
  • Be Kind to Yourselves. Yes, the whole family. Celebrate the end of the first week with a special outing, a Sundae Sunday Dinner, a movie, a game, a dance party, a soccer match, a Kick-the-Can game, etc. Have some fun; you all have earned it.