Back to school

Some of your kids have already gone back to school (too early!), but most of us have another week or three before the kids go back.

I thought we could talk about being prepared, what to expect, and what to watch out for.

One thing I wasn't prepared for, when my older son switched from preschool to Kindergarten, was feeling like we were just cogs in a machine. I hadn't realized how hard it would be to go from a place where the teachers knew and cared about him to a place where the teacher really just needed him to sit down and be quiet for the first month. And it wasn't the teacher's fault, but there are just too many kids per teacher so they can't care about each individual kid's inner thoughts right away.

I would hold off on buying new school clothes until you see what the other kids are wearing. It's horrible to be excited about new clothes and then realized they're not what's cool at your school.

Try to work within school rules for communication as much as possible, and remember that for the most part it's OK if your kid doesn't get special treatment. But if something's wrong, advocate for your child. I will forever regret those days I told my son he had to "just go in" to a teacher who was mean and scapegoated kids, because I'd mentioned it to the Assistant Principal and thought administration would be on top of it.

By the same token, if you have a great teacher, realize it. My son's teacher last year was amazing (different school) and I still tear up thinking of all the little things she did to honor who he is. I did what I could to thank her without becoming a sycophant, 'cause that's just creepy.

What questions/issues/advice/wisdom do you have? Things you're glad you did? Wish you'd done differently?