Family life

Back-to-school: Second week slump

Are your kids totally over back-to-school already? Tracy Chappell's daughters appear to be.

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Avery and Anna on their first week of school. Week two wasn’t as successful. Photo: Tracy Chappell

Follow along as Today’s Parent senior editor Tracy Chappell shares her refreshingly positive take on parenting her two young daughters. She’s been blogging her relatable experiences for our publication since 2005.

It all went off like a dream — sparkly new backpacks, full tummies, smiling teachers, reunions with long-lost friends. My kids came home from each day of their first week of school describing their days as “awesome!” and retelling stories of new classmates and classroom routines with such excitement. But that was so last week.

“Can you carry me?” my newly-minted five-year-old, Avery, whined on the way home from school this week. She’s just started senior kindergarten in a new school, which has made it very obvious that she was still occasionally napping at her preschool just two short weeks ago. She claims to not be tired, and doesn’t want to sleep during their established rest time, but every night, she’s breaking down in tears of exhaustion. Can-you-pick-me-up tears. I-don’t-like-this-dinner tears. I-won’t-brush-my-teeth tears. And, best of all, the I’m-not-tired tears. Puddles and puddles of tears.

Anna has taken another tact. My school-loving second-grader is coming home angry, despite saying her school day was great. She yells at Avery when they play, gets frustrated when I try to talk to her about anything, and is stomping around like a T-Rex who’s been denied after-school Bear Paws. (Which she was.) She also confided that she doesn’t feel like she has any friends at school anymore. Last week, she didn’t seem bothered that she was put in a different class than some of her favourite friends, but I think she’s now feeling left out.

Read more: Is your child anxious about going back to school? >

Last week, lunches were easy. The whole idea of a packed lunch was new to Avery and she was thrilled to take whatever she was given. (However, I did learn quickly that she doesn’t have the same appetite as her sister; Anna’s lunch bag always comes home empty, while Avery has only half-eaten almost everything.) Like last year, Anna is fine to eat the same-old, same-old, but Avery has started asking for spaghetti and tuna salad and grilled cheese. I like this, though — even though it takes a little more planning and prepping than turkey sandwiches.

Read more: School lunches: Fun printable meal planner >

The girls have also started a new after-school program. Avery says she doesn’t like it there (luckily, Anna does), so she gets upset on the days she has to go. But Avery often needs some time to get comfortable, so I’m hoping she will come to love it. It’s not like we have any options on that one.

I’m trying hard to channel Serene Mom so I can be patient, calm and understanding in the face of all this transitional angst (please tell me it’s transitional). Even with all my deep-breathing and self-talking, I fear I’m not doing so well. Sean often has to swoop in and be good cop to my bad cop when he gets home from work. Tell me week three is the beginning of the golden stage?

How is the back-to-school transition going at your house?