Back to school guest post: Rita Arens

We asked some of our favorite parenting bloggers about their back to school routines. Today’s post comes from friend and colleague Rita Arens. I asked her the following questions and as usual, she offers us some great advice!


What has historically been your biggest challenge with getting your children ready for the school year?

Thinking through all the forms/events/checks to be written that come from back-to-school month.

What one or two things did you discover that made that challenge easier?

Our school sends out a newsletter once a week with upcoming dates and they send home a calendar once a year with all the major days off and events of the school year.

I put everything in my work/personal calendar (they are the same – Outlook synched with iPhone) the minute I get the calendars and I set reminders to go off one week before the dates.

What are you most dreading about this school year?

Bedtime. When school kicks back in, the evening routine gets compressed because of homework and I don’t enjoy yelling at a child to get out of the shower for the fourteenth time.

However, I’m veryadamantthat she get to bed at adecent time and gets enough sleep.

What about this school year are you most excited about?

She’s definitely reading cooler books now. This year is fifth grade.

What do you think is the most overblown aspect of back to school what gets more press than it deserves?

Stuff to buy. Really as long as your kid has school supplies, a backback and sneakers, you can go back to school.

It doesn’t get cold until later and nobody is going to die if their socks aren’t new.

Whats the one thing youd caution all parents to avoid doing?

Photographing every element of back-to-school and posting it on social media.

Whats the one thing youd suggest every parent do?

Ask all the questions you are asking me of their child.

What is your biggest accomplishment around back to school you want to brag about?

I successfully convinced my daughter the PBT customized backpack I bought her last year could be used again.

And I got her to wear arch support inserts in her sneaks. She has flat feet, just like me.


For more back to school tips, tools and strategies, check out these posts:



Rita Arens is the deputy editor at and blogs at Surrender, Dorothy. She’s the author of THE OBVIOUS GAME and editor of SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK. Follow her on Goodreads and on Twitter @ritaarens.

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