Top Ten Things Not to Do When Faced With Back to School

Back to School


The inspiration for this list came from years and years of back to school events. Now that all the kids are no longer in school, I can list out things with a degree of objectivity.

10 If you are faced with back to school, do not buy any clothes without checking with your child first. If you do, at best several items will go unused. At worst, your child will suffer from PTSD (Post Teasing Stress Disorder) and refuse to leave the bedroom. (It seems those Sponge Bob Square Pant shirts you bought at the rummage sale were in the sale for a reason, Buster.)

9 If you are faced with back to school, do not do a celebratory dance as you sprint from the bus stop. If you do, at best your child won’t see you. At worst, you will have to explain your actions to your child and the rest of the parents of the kids on bus 23. (Okay so the NFL now allows dignified celebrations but doing the chicken dance as the bus pulled away caught you a penalty flag, Bosco)

8 If you are faced with back to school, do not accompany your child to class. If you do, at best you will be asked to leave. At worst you might be mistaken for an intruder and the subject of a lock down and SWAT interdiction. (That taser clears the sinus up right beautiful huh, Bart?)

7 If you are faced with back to school, do not stuff the backpack as if your child is going on safari. If you do, at best most of the things will be abandoned. At worst, your child won’t be able to navigate the stairs and Child Protective Services will pay you a visit. (Sure you are a survivalist, Bubba but the hatchet, matches, Coleman lantern, and Bowie knife are all forbidden.)

6 If you are faced with back to school, do not visit the school cafeteria to request a special diet for your youngster. If you do, at best you’ll decide to pack the lunch. At worst, you might be asked to volunteer as a lunchroom monitor. (Monitoring the lunchroom has all the glory of a prison guard position, Buford.)

5 If you are faced with back to school, do not ignore the crossing guard. If you do, at best you’ll embarrass your child. At worst, you will offend Tiny the WWF champ who has just finished his crossing guard training. (Looks like Tiny has you by the ankle and you are upside down huh, Bearle?)

4 If you are faced with back to school, do not put cute notes in your child’s lunch. If you do, at best your child will be the only one seeing them. At worst, a note may fall into the hands of the class clown and the embarrass factor will go on overload. (The words were okay, Bernie but those cartoons were a bit much. That one of the teachers went over well in the Vice Principle’s office.)

3 If you are faced with back to school, do not try to force your child to participate in activities that you think would be fun. If you do, at best the fit won’t be right. At worst, your child will rebel and go out for something like between building tight rope walking. (Should have left it alone, Bunky. Don’t look up)

2 If you are faced with back to school, do not think you know best on school supplies and stock up before the school list is published. If you do, at best you will need to buy more. At worst, those composition notebooks like the kind you used in school might become useful when your child starts college. So, Bevis, just store them for the next thirteen years.)

1 If you are faced with back to school, do not burden your child with your angst about separation. If you do, at best your child may be forced to worry about you. At worst, you could foster guilt in your child that could prevent them from taking advantage of the opportunity to move forward and learn new things. (So get over yourself Putz and show some excitement about the future.)



  1. Gwen Plano · ·

    Soooo funny, John…. I hope I didn’t do any of these things, but I suspect I was guilty a time or two with #10. I’m afraid to ask my kids….a sure sign! LOL

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Gwen.

  2. These are great, John! Number seven cracked me up! I thought for sure you were going to post the top ten things not to do during a solar eclipse. 🙂

    1. You and my producer are on the same page. I just couldn’t get inspired.

      1. I can’t really blame you with all of the hype.

  3. Hilarious, John. With Tiny as the crossing guard not only will the cars stop, they’ll stop three lengths back from the crossing. Great list. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. And if they don’t he will crush them. Thanks, Suzanne.

  4. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    John’s helpful list of back-to-school advice.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne.

  5. Good list, John. I think I had Tiny as a crossing guard in elementary school. He was dressed in drag with a black and white uniform and a ladies cap, but I’m sure it was him.

    1. Was there a mustache? If so it was him.

      1. Yes, and big hands.

  6. I was more of the gleeful dancing parent than the sweltering load the backpack kind. Great post.

    1. I can see it. 😀

  7. School supply lists kind of undo #7 here. My son’s backpack is already full and he has to take another bag full of stuff. Kids bring in boxes of tissues and ziplock bags for stuff now too.

    1. It is getting worse I hear.

  8. Well done, good sir! As a teacher, I had a different perspective on that first day…

    1. I’m sure. 😀

      1. And you can bet your sweet bippy that I wasn’t doing a happy dance!

      2. More like the Molson mambo

  9. Great list, John. I’m glad Domer is out of school … and so, I believe, is he!

    1. Ha ha ha. I’m sure. I know my youngest is.

  10. Ha! What a funny and true post! Been guilty of a few! Good thing my kids managed to survive my Mother Hen ways 🙂

    1. Kids are built with mother hen adapting skills.

      1. Good thing!!! I think I made somewhat of a 2nd career at humiliating my kids when they were younger! ha! But I wasn’t opposed to squirting dish soap into my son’s 8 year old f bomb droppin’ friend when at my house either 🙂 – I STILL get harassed about that one! 🙂

  11. hahaha, when I went to school we always purchased a locker key within a short time I’d misplace it and thus have a concrete weight backpack to haul around, didn’t want to own up because a replacement key cost would get a telling off.

    1. Yes. Telling off is worse than the concrete backpack.

  12. This list answers the question . . .

    “What do you do if Tiny is your crossing guard?”

    “Anything he says.”

    Happy back to school days!

    1. Yes. Step back being the line. Thanks, Pilgrim.

  13. Fun post, John.
    Last year my niece sent her oldest off to college and her youngest to first grade. Even the idea was mid-boggling to me!

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, Mae. Boggled mine too.

  14. I perversely look forward to embarrassing the heck out of Angus when he hits junior high…

    1. Perfect parent goal.

  15. Ha!!! The one about the survivalist was pos-i-lutely inspired, John. And the meme is terrific. Happy new week hugs!

    1. Thank you, Teagan. Hugs

  16. You gotta love kids. You also gotta love the places that keep them locked up for most of the day.

  17. My life last week….
    And I loved putting notes in their lunchboxes. Teenagers barely even do lunch, so now I write them on their mirrors. 🙂

  18. I committed #10. It seems that once they got to junior high, I’d lost any semblance of style-sense.

    1. That will do it. (junior high that is)

  19. Very funny, John. You’d probably be a hero to more than a few kids (and saved the parents more than a few bucks at the same time!)
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    1. Thank you, Madelyn.

  20. Now that my kids have grown, I look forward to back-to-school for the school supply deals. Always have!

    1. Love those composition book sales. Thanks, Susie.

  21. Tick all of the above. It seems back to school mania is not so very different way down south where I live. Sigh. 😊

    1. Works wide deal. Thanks, Soooz

  22. Great post!

    1. Thank you, Jennie.

      1. You’re welcome, John.

  23. Good one, John – don’t remember being guilty of any of these. Then again, you’d have to check with my sons.

    1. I checked before I wrote this. 😀

      1. So I’m guilty on all counts?

      2. *Looks around* Um Of course not.

  24. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out John Howell’s latest top 10 list of things not to do when faced with back to school.

  25. Brilliant, dear John! Timeless post to be given to parents before school anywhere! You should have added something else, though: not to call too much disturbing & embarrassing the child with stupid ‘how it goes at school’, ‘are you fine’, ‘did you eat well’. 🙂

    1. Too many questions lead to silence. Thank you Maria.

      1. Ha-ha-ha! True! 🙂

  26. Haha, this was so hilarious, loved this! My first post from you and already loving it!

    1. Thank you. Gianna.

      1. Your welcome.

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