5 Reasons Why Back to School Is Awesome for Parents

by Jason Gay

Photo credit: andresr, E+ Collection/ Getty Images

Jason Gay, author of Little Victories: A Sportswriter’s Notes on Winning at Life, shares five reasons parents should rejoice that their kids are back in school.

Kids everywhere are heading back to school, and it’s always a conflicted moment for parents — on the one hand, you’ll miss those beautiful creatures, on the other hand, those beautiful creatures are now someone else’s problem for up to one-third of the day.

Of course, it’s not like parents get a September breather. We have jobs and obligations and house projects, and then there’s always that feeling, around mid-morning, when you miss your little rats like crazy. (Our rambunctious 2-and-a-half-year-old started “school” on Monday; I’m waiting by the phone for a call about his first LEGO brawl.)

It’s never easy. But here are back to school positives to keep in mind:

1.  September Is the Official End of S’mores Season.
If you are like me, you have spent the past ninety days making s’mores for sugar-manic children. This summer it ranged from my daughter and son to my niece to my best friend’s kids, who I’m pretty sure hijacked a Hershey truck before our families went on vacation in August. There have been open-fire s’mores and charcoal grill s’mores and gas grill s’mores and one night of microwaved s’mores that was … well, lets just say microwaved s’mores was a terrible idea. But summer’s end means s’mores season is over. O-V-E-R! Just explain this to your kids in a calm voice, and hand them a piece of boiled asparagus. They’ll understand.

2.  No More Summer Reading Nagging.
For parents, it’s a drag to have to spend July and August constantly reminding your kids to do their summer reading. All they want to do is sit there on the computer or a device, or run around in the park! It drives any mother or father crazy. Kids should love reading — books are amazing things, essential to human development. I should know this, because the last time I read a book was … Okay, the last time I read a book was 1987. Now where is my iPad?

3.  Bedtime Tough Talk.
Let’s face it: It’s hard to crack down on bedtime during the middle of summer. “Go to bed!” you exclaim. “Tomorrow morning we have to be up early to … oh whatever, we’re going to the beach at noon. Stay up and watch ‘Twin Peaks’ for all I care.” It’s even harder to drop the sleep hammer when it’s still sunny at 8:30 PM. But now darkness arrives at an appropriate hour, and that 7:45 AM school bell serves as a useful threat to any kid refusing to hit the hay at a proper hour. “Go to bed!” you exclaim. “You have a test tomorrow on that summer reading you didn’t do! Also: Daddy has to watch ‘Monday Night Football’.”

4.  They Finally Turn Off that Freakin’ Sprinkler in the Park.
If you have little kids, you’ve grown to loathe the giant sprinkler that your child immediately bee-lines for the moment you enter any town or city park. “Wooooooo! You’re soaked to the bone and we don’t have back-up shorts!” And just try prying your kid away from a sprinkler before he or she has spent at least two and a half hours running back and forth screaming like a lunatic. Thankfully, most budget-conscious parks departments shut that park sprinkler off in September, meaning your kids will stay dry, and you don’t have to make 4,000 water balloons three times a week.

5.  The Ice Cream Truck Flies South for the Winter.
Good riddance, money-grabbing, tantrum-causing, four-wheeled devil car — see you in June!