Back to school guest post: Jacqueline Green

September 7, 2017

We asked some of our favorite parenting bloggers about their back-to-school routines. This week we’re thrilled to feature parenting coach, educator, and speaker, Jacqueline Green.

What has historically been your biggest challenge with getting your children ready for the school year? I used to see the start of the new school year as a chance to do things perfectly.

What one or two things did you discover that made that challenge easier? Aiming for Bs! More on this in my answer for the one thing that I strongly suggest that every parent do.

What are you most dreading about this school year? (Maybe we kill this question since I don’t think she answered it properly?)My youngest has just graduated from high school! I am excited to see her and her brother both thriving as young adults.

What about this school year are you most excited about? I’m excited that my 20-year-old son has taken a leadership role with his college, and that my 18-year-old daughter will be moving out and working in a new city as part of getting ready to do some traveling overseas.

What do you think is the most overblown aspect of back to school that gets more press than it deserves? Parents get wrapped up in making the first day perfect! More on this in my answer for the one thing that I strongly suggest that every parent do.

What is your best back-to-school shopping hack?

Start earlier in the summer, and instead of buying a whole new wardrobe, focus on buying a few items for each child that they like.

What is your best back-to-school hack at home?

Remind yourself that change is a process, not an event. Focus on one significant change that you’d like to make for the year. It may even be something very small.

It’s way better to get into momentum with one small change than to try to overhaul your whole life! The latter can seem like it’ll be more effective, but just leads to discouragement and frustration when you can’t follow through.

What's the one thing you’d caution all parents to avoid doing? Spending too much money buying your kids clothes and supplies to try to make your child look cool, fit in, etc.

What's the one thing you’d suggest every parent do? Take the pressure off of yourself, and your kids! We are parenting in the age with the most perfectionism ever. Our standards for ourselves and our kids have ramped up in crazy, unhealthy, and completely unrealistic ways.

Research has shown that aiming for Bs actually results in more success than aiming for As. So instead of expecting to have the perfect first day/start to the year, aim to have a good start. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference this makes over time!

When you kill yourself and drive your kids hard to be perfect, you set yourselves up to crash and burn. When you start off with more realistic expectations, where you expect everyone to make mistakes and fail as part of learning and growing, you will all have a much better year. It’s ironic, but one of the secrets of high performers is they aim for Bs, and as a result, get way more As. So aim to have a good first day of school. If it happens to be great, celebrate! If it is good, celebrate! If everything goes sideways, and it ends up being the equivalent of a C, remind yourself that you are looking for a B average overall. This one concept can set your child on a trajectory for dramatically better success academically, socially, and emotionally.

Anxiety levels amongst kids are dramatically higher than they’ve ever been, with so many negative consequences. When you start aiming for Bs, even if you don’t tell your child about this powerful strategy, they’ll feel the shift. With less pressure, your child will have the environment that he or she needs to thrive. One last quick note: One of the hard things for parents to do though is to not reset and start aiming for As again.

So make a point, no matter how well things have been going, to keep your focus on Bs. Every single B is a cause for celebration! Cs are to be expected too, and As will be more frequent than before. But remember that the secret to great performance lies in keeping your expectations realistic, and so resist the temptation to aim higher!

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

I survived seventeen back-to-school years! Now my kids are old enough to do their own preparations, and I get to enjoy hearing how it all went!

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

Jacqueline Green, BA is the author of the upcoming book, Strong Enough to Stay; Smart Enough to Go. At one of her lowest points, she stopped the escalating physical violence in her marriage, by going to a woman’s shelter with her kids. Through her work, she touches and inspires others by sharing how her marriage and parenting have been her biggest gifts because of, not in spite of, the serious challenges. She's been a parenting coach, educator, and speaker for over 16 years and she's interviewed over 135 top parenting-related educators since founding the Great Parenting Show in 2010.

Declutter Your Life Podcast by Andrew Mellen. Available on iTunes!