As the last sands of the summer hourglass slide away, your kids will notice their furlough is nearly finished. They will make the most of their remaining freedom by attempting to set a new Guinness World Record for consecutive hours spent sleeping and watching TV.
Of course your child needs two months of dormancy after ten months of school. School is hard work; kids who don't wear themselves out keeping up their grades put just as much energy into figuring out their social life and maintaining a body temperature somewhere above 90 degrees.
Drive around between 7 and 8 AM on a weekday morning in January and you'll see what I mean: countless kids shivering, sucking their necks and hands into flimsy jackets or sweatshirts, hunched over like the elderly as they wait for the bus (ironically, many of these sweatshirts carry the popular brand label “South Pole”).
Warm clothing tells everyone you are a geek.
True story: My mother used to bundle me up for my bus wait: I wore massive coat, thick pullover hat, mittens, and galumphing heavy boots with wool socks. I did not object, because it was four degrees outside and I had a functioning brain.
When I climbed aboard the bus one day, an older boy, wearing a light wind breaker, his ears and fingers discolored from frostbite and his sneakers still encrusted with snow, looked at me like I had maggots in my hair, and asked, “doesn't your mother love you?”
That was 20 years ago. Nothing has changed. The school where I teach sometimes has heating problems. When I tell kids to bring their coats to class, they look perplexed, like National Geographic anthropologists trying to understand the language of a newly-discovered indigenous culture, and they say things like, “tell us more about this so-called 'coat' object.”
So the first thing you should do to prepare your child to go back to school is compile all his/her warm clothing and set fire to it.
Next, make sure your kids are equipped with a healthy variety of electronic gadgets to keep them connected to everything except their classes. The Blackberry, the ipod, and the cell phone are especially crucial.
Student: Can I call my boyfriend?
Me: I'm sorry, you're not allowed to use your cell phone during class.
Student: But I have to... uh... tell him when to pick me up from school!
Me: Wait until lunch.
Student: (after three-second pause) Umm... Can I use the bathroom?
Sending children to school without electronics impairs their ability to socialize. They may have to find something else to concentrate on, which for many of them will be an emotional hardship.
I can't emphasize enough: if you don't keep your kids “plugged in” and dress them in the right clothes (i.e. The same clothes all the other kids wear), you don't love them.
And you have to buy new clothes in August, because prior to that point they've been running around naked, and they can't very well go to school like that.
Although, don't be surprised if a kid tries it on some winter morning, just to prove that his mother loves him.