My Top 5 Back to School Parenting Mistakes

here comes the bus!

I am feeling so grateful that we have made it through the first 10 days of kindergarten and so far it seems like pretty smooth sailing.  We even added the bus to the schedule without a problem.  Most of the mistakes this week were mine, so I decided to list my top 5 back to school mistakes while they are still fresh in my mind!

1) Practice Lunch: While I spent the summer feeling like I should have been practicing reading and letters I now realize we should have practiced other things like eating out of a lunch box.  On his second day he came home super thirsty because I hadn’t thought to show him/practice how to use the spout on his new back to school water bottle.

2) Practice Speaking Up: On that same note, we could have practiced asking strangers for things you need, like water! In hindsight, I realized I could have facilitated him ordering his own ice cream cones, asking the librarian, lifeguard etc for help to get a little more practice addressing strangers who are adults.

2) Routine, Routine, Routine!   Friday morning we were running a bit late and instead of rushing I thought we could catch the bus on the other side of the block.  The driver told me children can get on at any of the bus stops in the neighborhood.  It turned out to be a bad idea. It was too much of a break in our routine (which was only 4 days old) and it really threw us off.  I have learned this before, but kids have trouble with “gray areas” as in, “yes, I know this isn’t your regular stop, but you are allowed to get on here anyway.”  I wound up driving him to school and it was our hardest drop-off and completely avoidable!  From now on, we will get on the bus at the same stop, with the same friend, every day.

3) I should have warned my son that the afternoon bus driver would be different than the morning driver.  So, he spent his first afternoon bus ride worrying about whether the teachers made a mistake and put him on the wrong bus.

4) Not spending enough time prepping the little sister.   Maybe we could have avoided a couple of morning meltdowns if my daughter had more warning about what it would be like to drop her big brother off at school. Or better yet, I could have enlisted help to distract her.

5)  My biggest frustration is that the reports from my son are so minimal…like a report on a whole eight hour day might be just, “school is good.”   I want so much more information.  When I read about it, I saw I was making the mistake of asking too many questions too soon after school.  I found this  helpful guide and will try out the tips.

And finally, as a reminder that parents have been asking the same questions about school for a long time, here is a link of a very young Pete Seeger singing “What did you Learn in School Today” by Tom Paxton.


  1. I can relate – my daughter didn’t tell me anything about school for the first two years! Other parents would be chatting about things that happened there and I never had any idea what they were talking about. It was hard. But now she tells me a lot more. I try really hard not to ask her any questions, it is fun to see what stands out in her mind about her day.

    • Thanks for the visit and comment. Do you try not to ask any questions at all?

      • Well, I try. Her teachers have encouraged us not to ask questions and just let the children absorb their day. Or if we do ask to ask just 1 or 2 questions. I usually ask what she had for snack and if she did any climbing during outside time. Sometimes that is enough to get her started and she’ll tell me more. But if she does talk it is always much later in the day. Almost never right after school. I know other kids who tell their moms every single thing that happened as soon as they are picked up. :-/ Wouldn’t that be nice?!

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