School Secrets Your Kids Don’t Want You to Know

When it comes to back to school – from how they get there to what they want to wear -  I got the scoop straight from the source.

It’s long been felt (by parents at least) that September and “back-to-school” are a call to celebrate. Even the most fun summer needs to end at some point, and thankfully so, because by mid-August my water bill from hose fights is in the triple digits and the ice cream truck music makes my left eye inexplicably twitch. But most kids see September in a different light. Some even refer to the month as “the S-word” and turn to their parents with serious stink-eye if they use it within earshot.

Let’s explore this. Beyond the whole “getting up at 7am again,” there must be reasons our kids dread commercials for binders and pencils come late August. I asked a few kids - from elementary to high school: What do they really think about the back to school chaos? What should parents know to make the return easier? (It wasn’t a difficult group to gather; there are almost always at least five kids spraying each other with hoses in my backyard and it turns out they’ll sing like birds if you hold up a box of ice cream sandwiches.) When it comes to back to school – from how they get there to what they want to wear -  I got the scoop straight from the source.

Here’s what I learned:


Kids love to eat, but parents, they don’t want to tell you this: please stop sending egg salad unless specifically requested. The “who farted?” jokes are getting old, they really want to start dating one day, and the lingering sulphur smell is messing with their street cred.

I looked at the assembled crew and told them while I could make no promises on behalf of all parents, their wish for hot, fresh, daily delivered pizza lunches would at the very least get passed on to our readers. (And then I went in the house and laughed and laughed.)

Also on the “please send” list:

  • Dippables and one-hander lunches. (It makes Pokémon trading easier over the ever-shortening lunch “hour.”)
  • Nothing smelly. (See above egg trauma.)
  • Hot food in a thermal container, especially during cold weather months.
  • That week after you binge-watched 17 health documentaries and sent three weeks consecutive lunches of homemade goat’s milk yogurt and vegan granola? It hit the green bin faster than a teenager’s mood shift. Moderation, mom. Kids are fine with healthy options, but they ask you don’t make it “weird stuff that smells funny.”


The best advice here came from the kid we call affectionately call “Scalpy McGee” due to a 2011 back-to-school haircut no one will soon forget. His advice: GO NOW. Like today. Why are you still here? PHONE THE SALON, MOM.

Scalpy’s mom meant well; I’ve met her and she’s a lovely woman. But somewhere down the line, she forgot about haircuts, and in 2011 she took her son to the barber the day before school started, and it was… well, it was not the barber’s best work. It was patchy and shorn in places and too long and shaggy in others. And with zero sum days before the first day back, there was no respite in a bit of grow-back time. With his new short bangs, we could read Scalpy’s summer sunburn history on his forehead as plainly as growth rings on a fallen tree.

Clothes and Shoes

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Pay attention to quality for your shoes and your mattress, because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other.” Meaning of course, we’re on our feet for a huge part of the day and kids even more so, so spending money on top brands is always worth the investment. Whether it’s running around the playground or walking the hallways for rotary classes, put your kids in good shoes.

Informal surveys (e.g., the group of kids in my backyard aged 9-17) show that people firmly believe new shoes actually do make you run faster. When I asked the number one new thing kids wanted if given the choice for school, it was new clothes and shoes – nary a calculator or notebook on the list. Even if you don’t typically buy into a whole new wardrobe for September, shoes and a new outfit are almost always on the back-to-school list, and you only need to head to your local Sport Chek or for high-quality shoes and casual, comfy clothes for kids that will last far beyond picture day.

You’ll also be surprised as how much your kids have grown this summer, so if you have questions about sizing or fit, in-store staff are happy to ensure perfect sizing or you can chat live with staff through FB messenger.


When it comes to getting your kids to school, the order of preferred transportation methods goes roughly like this:

1. Bus – in a seat as far back as possible
2. Walk or ride with friends
3. Atop a flaming outhouse pulled by scary clowns in a go-cart
4. Being dragged by a wild herd of feral cats
5. In a warm and comfortable minivan driven by their loving parents

Maybe this is the year you collect some bonus parent points and organize a “walking school bus” in the community, lest we all scar our children irreparably after their classmates witness the horror of a goodbye kiss and “I love you” shouted from across the parking lot.

We’re monsters.

So, there you have it; we’re now privy to formerly-held secrets of the back-to-schooler. All we ask is that you use the info for good, and have a great school year!