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Back to School: What You Wish You Had Known

In less than two weeks, Emma begins kindergarten. Last week I reached out to all of you to ask, “What do you wish you had known?” before you sent your first child to school. While many of the responses made me cry, they were also informative. Here are the highlights!

From Nikki at The Guilty Parent: I wish I had known that you could email teachers to introduce yourself and your child before the first day of school, rather than bombarding them on that very busy and hectic first day like every other parent does.

From Scattered Mom: I wish I had trusted my own instincts more. I wish that I had stood up for my child and realized that school is a business-it’s their job to educate my child. It’s my job to support. It’s NOT my job to be his teacher’s friend.

I wish I had known to send only 6 glue sticks instead of the required 15 that were pooled for the class-and then send the remainder part way through the year.

I wish I had known that the teacher would put me on the spot and ASK ME TO SING for the class.

I wish I had known that Jake’s teacher would make tying his shoes a goal-and bought VELCRO. (he has a motor disability and didn’t tie them properly for YEARS).

I wish I had relaxed and enjoyed those years instead of worrying so much.

From JenniG at Hip As I Wanna Be: I wish I would have known that the school bus would be the place that my kids would learn too much information too quickly. I would have driven them every day like my husband suggested.

From Abby at the Merry Meyers: I wish I had told my daughter to remember that lunch time is time to eat. She is a social butterfly and it took her a while to realize if she didn’t eat then there was another chance. Then again she figured it out eventually.

I wish I would have known to have my daughter try out the buckle at home on her backpack, her shoes, her lunchbox just to make sure she could do it on her own.

From the Hula Hooping Mom: I wish I had volunteered more and had more faith & trust in the teachers.

From Candy at Mommypalooza: Honestly, my son starts Kindergarten next Monday but I already have a “I wish I had known” issue! My son was originally signed up for 1/2 Kinder because we wanted full day but our school had a waitlist for full day.Well, less than a week ago I got a call that there was a last minute full day spot opening. It hit me that all summer long I’ve been in this “1/2 day mode” planning out in my head what our days will be like. And now, I’m scrambling to squeeze the last few days to enjoy them to the fullest! I wish I had known that I might actually get what I wished for and that it would be this hard to let him go!

From Sarah at Real Life Blog: I have learned to take everything the kids say a little more seriously. I dismissed a few things as “Kids will be Kids,” and I should have stepped in sooner as my children’s advocate. You know your child best, and you know when something is affecting them, or when it is just “kids.”

From Adrienne: I wish I had known to RELAX and let it happen and that it all happens too fast, the grandbaby is starting preK in two weeks.I wish I had known to be as involved as I could, to be the room mom and PTA mom earlier than I did. It really made a difference in my relationship with my kids (for the better LOL).As a former school secretary I would add that I wish more parents had known that Teachers do not work around the clock, they are not available after your work hours for a conf. If they do meet with you then it is on their time and their dime. You are allotted by most state laws to take time off work to meet with your child’s teacher.

From Maureen at Wisconsin Mommy: Here’s one from a former teacher: I wish parents had known to introduce themselves to me BEFORE there was an issue. It’s no fun for anyone when the first contact is a negative one.Added note: a really good teacher will take the first step to make sure that this happens.

From Karen: I wish I had known not to sign up for too much! (Funny coming from the founder of VolunteerSpot.)I wanted to participate at school and get to know my daughter’s teacher and her new friends, but I overdid it a bit.

From Kim: I wish I had known that when the teacher said my child was fine, that really only meant he wasn’t disrupting her class. If you have concerns about your child, don’t let the teacher brush them aside.Oh, camp counselor’s use this same code.

From Kim at CrafyMamaof4: I wish I would have know that our kids Kindergarten is not the same as our Kindergarten, we played, them not so much, Kindergarten now a days is all work then more work, I would have prepared my kids better to have to sit so long and concentrate on “seat work” Preschool prepared them with the basic knowledge but not the sit down and work.

From Linda at lfamous: There’s so much!1. Label everything! Kids can forget what coat they wore (like my DS did) 2.Make sure kids pee before school (sometimes DD would forget!) 3. Tell them they have to pee at least once at school! (That bus ride home can be awfully long with a full bladder-DD found that out!) 4. Pack their snack the night before & keep in fridge & remind kids to grab it (to save yourself a trip to the office) 5. Pack backpacks (esp library books) the night before (to save yourself a trip to the office) 6. Take younger kids to the school any chance you get to get them familiar with it (summer library, art show, plays, movie night, etc.) 7. Relax & don’t worry! Our school has teachers & parent volunteers meet kindergarten kids at the bus the first 2 weeks of school & walk them to class & volunteers in lunchroom first week to show them the ropes.

From Stacey at Tree, Root, & Twig: I wish I had known that my child didn’t need to know how to read fluently before Kindergarten. I had such terrible visions that she was going to be so far behind everyone else. There are some basic fundamentals they hope to see from your child, but a pre-reading of War & Peace is not one of them.

I wish I had known that everything we bought would be put into one massive tub and then distributed randomly. I would have saved some money (and my daughter’s hurt feelings!) by buying standard/generic supplies!

From the Angel Forever: I wish I had known that it would be much more difficult to be a parent during a parent/teacher conference. I wish I had known talked to the principal more about the problems in the multi-teacher classroom (what a mess). I wish I had known that I would be the only “sucker” that would volunteer to be room parent. I wish I had known that my days of spelling to my husband were numbered. I wish I had known to tell the teachers that constantly focusing on warnings with my child would negate what he was really learning in school. I wish I had known that I would get so emotional over a report card.

From Stefany: I wish I had been more vigilant to stay on top of what my kiddo did at school and with talking to the teacher. I trusted that she was doing her work well and was getting along fine because that is what she told me. If I had been in touch with the teacher more, I would have known there were problems before they were true problems. Now, I give the teacher my email within the first week and make sure they know I am available anytime.

I also would have made sure my kids had my phone number in their pocket, even if they knew it. My daughter didn’t get off at her school bus stop and was brought back to the school. Since she was nervous, she couldn’t remember our phone number. If she had it on her, we could have been called while the bus was still out and she would have been spared the fear and anxiety about being brought back to school.

Finally, I would have learned that I AM MOMMY and NO ONE knows my kids more than me. Seems easy enough, right? Well, I trusted the school/teachers when they said something was “normal”. I knew it wasn’t and eventually had my daughter tested for learning disabilities. Schools are wonderful, but a mommy is a mommy and mommy knows. I am not much more active in saying what I want to teachers about how I feel regarding my kids. I am their best advocate and I make sure that is known.

From Kirsten: If there is any advice I can give to the moms who have children entering into Kindergarten it would be to always discuss there day and always ask, “Did the teacher give you any papers or homework.” Stick by them in good and bad. Very important, keep open communication with their school teacher.

From Night Owl Mama: I wish I had known that my child would be more worried about what toys would be there to play with than if mom was leaving. I expected to see her crying and screaming like a few of the other children, but she was just as excited to be there as I was happy to have a hr or two to myself. It took me a few days to get over the fact that she was perfectly fine and that I didn’t need to sit in the parking lot and try to peek through the windows. She was perfectly fine. Now ask me at the end of the month when my son starts preschool all kids are different I saved all my questions for after class when the teacher was able to answer them without the hectic chaos of new students and lots of other parents

About This Post
It’s back-to-school time, and this year Sprite and TwitterMoms have partnered with bloggers like me to share back-to-school tips and tricks, advice, stories and more! Visit Sprite’s back-to-school channel on TwitterMoms to get helpful ideas, learn how to survive the back to school rush, seek out advice from other TwitterMoms and join the conversation. You can learn more about donating your My Coke Rewards Points to support your local school, how to enter for a chance to win some Back to School cash, check out recipes, or even play some fun games. Here’s to a successful and stress-free back to school season from Sprite and TwitterMoms!

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  1. [...] year I reached out on Twitter and here at Resourceful Mommy to find out what parents wish they had known before sending their first child to school.  My daughter, Emma, was heading off to kindergarten, so the topic was very much on my mind.  The [...]

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