5 Back to School Traditions to Start This Year

posted: 08/24/15
by: Blythe Copeland

Whether your kids have been counting down the days until they can head back to school or trying to hold onto the last few days of summer, making the most of the first day of school is a little easier with these fun traditions. From simple photos to special meals, here are five easy ways to have everyone in your family looking forward to the new school year.

1. Take a "First Day of School" photo

The first day of school photo is not a new tradition -- your mom probably still has yours! -- but many parents today choose something more elaborate than a quick snap before the bus arrives. Buy an adult-sized t-shirt with your child's graduation year on it and have him wear it every year to see how he grows into it; have your little one hold a sign listing her new grade, current interests, and age; or have your student hold the previous year's photo to see the annual progression.

2. Prepare a fun breakfast (or dinner)

Adjusting to the school-year schedule can be hectic at first, but making a special breakfast can help your kids get up and moving a little faster--and give them the fuel they need for a long day of learning. Try simple yogurt and muffins in a fancy dish, pancakes in the shape of their grade number, or a full eggs, bacon, and French Toast feast to send them off with a full stomach. Or, if you're not a big breakfast family, plan a special dinner for after the school day--Epicurious suggests kid-friendly macaroni and cheese, roasted carrots, and peanut butter pie, but your family's favorites are your best choice-- and spend a little extra time together talking about new teachers, desks, subjects, and friends.

3. Celebrate the night before.

Mark the end of summer with a "School Year's Eve" party on the night before the first day for a memorable way to start the year. Let your kids choose their own custom meal while they fill out a short interview page with their hopes and goals for the year. Or take your cue from your annual New Year's Eve bash and provide poppers, party hats, and a milk and cookies toast after counting down to bedtime. (Just make sure you stick to your usual night time routine after dinner -- a good night's sleep is essential for the first day.)

4. Calm their nerves

Even the most experienced students can feel a little nervous about the first day of school. If your little ones are feeling overwhelmed, try to change the anxiety into excitement with simple treats. Some parents leave out backpacks the night before for the Backpack Fairy, who puts in a few small presents--new school supplies, a mini candy bar, a keychain, or a new shirt. Some parents also offer a night-before bedtime treat of "magic" snack mix: cereal, pretzels, mini marshmallows, and a poem promising that eating it the night before will take all your first day of school fears away. Another option: Make matching bracelets or necklaces, one for yourself and one for your kid, that you can both wear while she's away, reminding her that you're thinking of her while she's at school.

5. Treat yourself

After you've dropped the little ones off or waved goodbye to the bus, treat yourself to a get-together with your best mom friends where you can shed a few tears over saying goodbye to your kids (or high-five that you survived the summer). Invite your neighbors over for a casual post-bus stop brunch, or else plan to meet up with your kids' classmates' mothers at a local coffee shop. Your children won't get anything out of this tradition, but it may just become your new favorite part of the first day of school.