Getting your kids ready to go back to school can take some serious work, even for the most organized moms. There are backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies to buy, early rising schedules to adjust to, forms to fill out, and school functions to attend, all of which can feel like a lot after a few months when the biggest thing on your to-do list was deciding which pool you’d visit.
After you get the serious stuff out of the way (check out these tips to ease the back-to-school struggle), refocus on the fun by incorporating one or more of these awesome back-to-school traditions into your family life. Not only will they help you celebrate another Summer conquered, but they’ll give your child a little extra encouragement for the year ahead and remind them that school is something to be celebrated, too.
Plan a Back-to-School Shopping Trip
After a season spent running around in now-stained shorts and tees, your kid probably needs a few more presentable clothing items for school. While online shopping might be easier, consider planning a shopping outing to a few of your favorite local stores combined with a one-on-one meal. The excursion will give you some quality time and let you really talk about the upcoming school year and any fears or apprehensions your child has about it.
Eke Out 1 Last Round of Summer Fun
Most schools start long before the unofficial end of Summer (Labor Day), so soak up your favorite seasonal offerings by planning one last trip to the beach, your favorite pool, or a local water park. Follow it up with a visit to the ice cream shop or a dinner eaten al fresco.
Have Your Child Create a Self-Portrait
For young grade schoolers, creating a self-portrait at the beginning and end of the school year is a great way to see how their motor and artistic skills have developed over the year. For older kids, consider having them write a letter to themselves to be opened at the end of the school year or the beginning of the following year. You’ll both be impressed by how much they’ve changed and grown.
Go Meet the New Teacher
Most schools offer a “meet the teacher” day or evening, and it’s a great idea to attend. Not only will it give you a chance to drop off school supplies so your kid isn’t carrying an arsenal of markers and folders on that first day, but it will ease any anxieties about classroom location and not recognizing new faces, making your child feel a lot better about walking into school solo that first day.
Make a Special First-Day Breakfast
Save the cereal and toaster strudels for the rest of the year. On the first day, do breakfast up right, serving up your child’s favorite special meal, like pancakes, fruit salad, or cheesy scrambled eggs. Sure, it takes a little extra work, but it’s sure to send your little one off with a smile.
Add to Their Library
Buying your child a new book at the beginning of each school year will remind them that it’s time to get back into the learning spirit and help grow their library (always a good thing). Write an inscription marking the occasion in the front cover, and you’ll always remember how your little reader’s skills developed through the years.
Pack a Lunch That Says “I Love You”
Sure, an artfully displayed bento box lunch would be a nice first-day-of-school offering. But a plain-old lunch with a sweet love note tucked inside is just as good of a way to express your love.
Plan a Mom-and-Me Movie Outing
Every year, a night or two before school started, my mom would take me to dinner and a movie, and those back-to-school dates became one of my favorite nights of the year. Whether it’s a movie, a dinner, or a visit to a special spot you both love, creating some quality one-on-one time is the best way to make lasting memories.
Go to Dinner at Your Child’s Favorite Restaurant
Let your back-to-schooler pick a favorite restaurant for a family dinner — no complaints allowed from siblings or parents. If you’re feeling really generous, let them pick a dessert spot for after dinner, too.
Give Them a Safe Space to Talk
You don’t have to leave the house to create special memories. Plan a family game night, schedule a pizza-and-movie night, or have a picnic dinner in the backyard. The key is to give your child a comfortable space to express their hopes, fears, and worries about the upcoming school year. If you have a kid that’s reluctant to open up, consider coming up with a list of questions (some silly, some serious) that you’ll ask them directly.