By Allison Webster
The start of a new school year comes with a range of emotions. While kids are sad to see summer end, they are also excited to see their friends and maybe meet some new ones. They might also be nervous about starting school – especially if starting for the first time, or attending a new school where they don’t know anyone. Ease those first day jitters with some fun family traditions you can bring back year after year!
1) Back-to-School Shopping Day
In the middle of summer back-to-school shopping might sound like a drag, but your kids will get excited once they realize they get to pick out some fun new school supplies and clothes. Make a day of it and treat them to lunch as an added bonus. Check out your local garage sales as well. You never know what treasures you will end up finding.
2) Special Family Dinner
Celebrate the end of summer vacation with a sit-down family dinner. Make your kids’ favourite dishes, plus dessert to mark the occasion. It’s a great opportunity to talk to them about how they’re feeling about the first day back. Ask them what they’re most excited for, and what they’re going to wear.
3) Night Before Movie Night
After dinner make some popcorn and put on a family-friendly movie. This is a great way to relax and enjoy that last evening of summer. Choose a short movie, or put it on early so that the kids can get to bed on time!
4) Pack & Prep
After the movie is over, it’s time to get ready for bed – but not before making sure they have everything they need for school the next day. Have your kids pack their backpacks with all their new supplies. Line the bags up near the door so they’re ready to go the next morning.
5) Special Breakfast
Prepare a special first day of school breakfast! Whether you serve up some fluffy pancakes, waffles, muffins, or eggs and toast, make it memorable. While most mornings your kids will have cereal and fruit, you want that first day breakfast to be unique.
6) Encouraging Lunchbox Note
If you have younger children – who might be nervous about starting school or meeting a new teacher – an encouraging note in their lunchboxes will go a long way. The notes can be silly or sentimental, as the purpose is to let your kids know you’re thinking about them and wish them luck.
7) Mark Growth Chart
While many parents use birthdays as an opportunity to measure their children’s height, it can also be done at the beginning of each new school year. Whether marked on a chart or on a wall, it’s fun to see how much the kids have grown from one grade to the next.
8) First Day Photos
On that first morning before the kids leave for school be sure to snap a photo of them holding signs with their grade on it – “First Day of Grade ___.” Do the same on the last day of school, with a sign that says “Last Day of Grade ___.” Compare the two photos at the end of the school year to see how they’ve changed. Moms and dads can get in the photos as well, jumping for joy for comedic effect.
9) After School Surprise
The first day can be tough – for parents and kids. Getting back into that routine is challenging after a fun summer. Since most kids won’t have homework that first day, take this opportunity to surprise them with something. Go for ice cream, or make a fun after-school snack to congratulate them on making it through that first crucial day.
10) Make a Scrapbook Page
Using the photos you took on the first day, plus any other mementos you want to add, make a scrapbook page for each of your kids for the first day of school. Add the pages to a book, and then you’ll have a chronological record of your kids through the years. The kids can add little drawings or photos themselves to personalize their pages.
Enjoy that first day of school! Your kids won’t be small forever – so cherish these milestones each and every year!