By Susan Casper

It is hard to imagine the start of another school year is already here!
Parents, we have successfully survived another summer break filled with pesky bug bites, endless play dates, expensive day camps, special grandma visits, excessive television watching and sheer boredom.

Despite a fun filled summer, I shamelessly admit I am thrilled our twin daughters are back to the books. They are 4th graders now. Wow—how time flies!

Chapter #1: Back-to-School Blues

I can still remember the sadness I felt the morning of our daughters’ first day of school. I will never forget the lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and pain in my heart when we dropped our girls off in at kindergarten. How in the world would my fragile little angels possibly make it on their own for seven hours without us?

Well, let’s just say our girls had a much easier time handling the first day of school then I did. They had a great time making new friends, gluing macaroni to construction paper and just being kids.
It never dawned on me, however, how equally nerve racking and scary back-to-school can be for children as well. Not sure if you are like me, but I am a perfectionist and a procrastinator, which results in unnecessary stress and last minute rushing to ensure our 9-year-olds are ready and prepared.

I have learned over the years, however, to temper my anxiety around our girls this time of year. There’s no need for a wall-sized countdown calendar or a daily reminder of how many days are left before school starts. We just enjoy each triple digit monsoon day as it comes until we are all out of summer vacation.

Chapter #2: Back-to-School Shopping

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is how to avoid the back-to-school shopping frenzy. We live in the Chandler Unified School District. So, students here head back to class much earlier than the rest of the Valley. The early start makes for a much shorter summer break, but it also means we get first dibs on trendy back-to-school clothes and coolest supplies.

It’s great because it is so hot outside our kids can still sport summer outfits to school, which are always piled up on those ‘End of Summer’ clearance racks—practical and affordable, my kind of deal! The trick is to shop in school districts that start back much later than yours to avoid empty store shelves and pushy last minute shoppers. So, we drive to other cities in the Valley where students go back to class nearly a month later for a drama free shopping experience.

Chapter #3: Hooky Day!

The final lesson in my back-to-school handbook is definitely my favorite. Many years ago, my husband and I started a very special tradition on the first day of school. After we walk our excited daughters to class, get them all settled into their new desk, and help them find the proper place to store their school supplies, we run like the wind!

Yes, we play hooky! We ditch work, hi-five to another successful summer, and just enjoy each other. We go to breakfast, catch a movie, have lunch—you name it! So, I encourage you to take this day to pamper yourself. Have brunch, play a round of golf, or just cool your heels. Why not? You deserve it!

So, moms and dads, good luck as we embark on another school year filled with homework assignments, science projects and emotional roller coasters. Just remember, before we know it, it will be summer break all over again. Have a wonderful school year and please support your teachers and administrators who often spend more time with our precocious kiddos during the day then we do.

Susan Casper is a wife, mom of nine-year old twin girls and host on ABC15’s Sonoran Living Live. You can see Susan on Sonoran Living, Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m., or stream it live at