Back to school traditions abound, whether parents follow the latest trends, or carry out traditions established from their childhood. However, most families agree it’s really about creating lasting memories and having fun together. It seems there are as many Back-to-School traditions as there are first day jitters, but let’s admit it… the nerves aren’t solely from the kiddos. We parents fret about the series of events leading up to the Big Day too and wait on pins and needles to hear positive reports so we can celebrate with a shared happy dance. Perhaps the reasons for constructing memory lane – besides the obvious recall of events to provide our children for when they’re grown, is that maybe, just maybe, they can appreciate all that we did for them. After all, much time passes between the first photo holding a “First Day of Kindergarten” sign until they too have children of their own, or perhaps they’re simply older and it finally clicks… they finally understand parenting sacrifices, right? Traditions also provide a beautiful way to celebrate our children’s life while also nurturing and comforting them during an intimidating time. Military children are unconventionally resilient when it comes to familiarizing themselves with ‘the new.’ However, that doesn’t mean they don’t feel uneasy while they make the transition. Taking action to create and share a moment with them helps reassure them they aren’t alone as they face a monumental day. We want to provide some of the BEST Back-to-School traditions to help launch an uplifting memory for the family and provide a long overdue THANK YOU from your kids (when they’re in their twenties.) You’re welcome.
1. Go on a Shopping Date
Shopping…Lunch…More shopping…and then dinner. Need I say more?
2. Have a Back to School Fashion Show
It’s fun and productive! Mixing, matching and creating outfits may be exactly what your youngster needs to get organized before the first week back. When I was young I had every outfit planned for the entire first week. This was helpful because it relieved a lot of early morning pressure to have things ‘just right.’
3. Make the First Day of School Special
The possibilities are endless! I love the idea of matching tattoos for Mom and child. It can be Captain America, My Little Pony, or as simple as a short ‘I love you’ message on your hands; it’s a little something for both to be reminded of each other’s presence though not visible. Need an idea for your bigger kid? Send them to school with a manila envelope with individual envelopes inside, labeled with the times they are to be transitioning to their next class. Write something encouraging, motivational, or even funny for them to open each hour.
4. Take Back to School Photos
Jump on this bandwagon! A great idea is to capture both Back to School photos and Last Day of School photos. Who cares if your child is about to start the 4th grade and you missed all of the cutesy ways to parade the first days of schools for the last 4 years. Start now! Photos that timeline your child’s growth are very neat.
5. Make a Special ‘Back to School’ Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Especially, a big day such as the first day back to school! A great way to help your kids get off to a great start and help them ease any jitters is to ask them what they would like for breakfast (within reason, I suggest otherwise it may turn out to be a smorgasbord of donuts and pastries.)
6. Enjoy a Special ‘Back to School’ Dinner
What better way to end a big day with a relaxing dinner where everyone can talk about their day and there is no rush to prep, cook and clean up? This is a great idea. Whether your child is beginning school for the first time, in a new school or just really needs to have an ear, they should be able to have your undivided attention. As much as we want to initiate the routine, it can happen well after day 1 of school begins.
7. Leave Notes in the Lunch Box
It doesn’t matter if these notes are hand-written or printed and placed in your child’s lunch box. If your child comes home and didn’t even realize it was in their lunch box, take that as a good thing! When my 2nd grader didn’t notice my back-to-school napkin notes anymore, that was my confirmation that he was doing okay. He was having a great time at lunch with his friends to notice. Success!
8. Create a New or Special Homework Area
Revamp the area where your child sits and does their homework. There is a calming feeling of clarity with new and fresh spaces. Re-arrange the area, put a couple different pictures, resources or tools in the space that can be helpful to your child.
9. Have an After School Water Fight
Best Mom Ever…
10. Create a Time Capsule
This is fun! Have your child collect some of their favorite items, a questionnaire of all of their favorites, likes and dislikes, and some recent photos to put in a box or a container until next year. When it is back-to-school time the following year your family can see how much they have changed.
11. Have a ‘Boo-Hoo Breakfast’ with other Parents
Lastly, some of you will be sending your child off to Kindergarten for the first time. This can be very difficult for moms and while most of these traditions have been for the kids, this is a tradition that is great for moms. Host a breakfast to get together with your mom friends after you secure your child’s first day at school. It will be a great way to pass the time taking pleasure in connecting with others who are in a similar position.