It’s hard to believe, but across the country kids are getting ready to go back to school. The first day of the school year is full of opportunities to create special memories with your children, and traditions help ease kids back into the school year and become treasured moments they anticipate. Creating traditions can be simple or elaborate — you get to choose! Here are 10 of our favorite back to school traditions.
Parents around the country like you are getting ready for back to school, too! Don’t miss out on some great back to school deals when you go shopping for your little ones.
1. Countdown to school
Source: The Idea Room
Build anticipation for school with a Countdown to School calendar. Use this countdown to create a game plan for easing back into the school year. Each day plan to do one thing to get prepared, like scheduling a back to school shopping date.
2. Back to school shopping date
Make a date with each of your children to go back to school shopping. This is a great way to sneak in a little one-on-one time with each child before the school year begins. Let them pick where to eat lunch and map out your game plan before hitting the stores.
Once you’ve made your game plan, be sure to check for back to school deals and coupons at stores like Target, Walmart, Office Depot, Staples, and more. Does the thought of back to school shopping stress you out? Relax and take a peek at our back to school shopping tips and ways to survive back to school shopping with teens.
3. Organize their school year
Source: Thirty Handmade Days
Back to school time brings a ton of activities and homework to track. Get organized by creating a school binder for each child. Make a section for:
- School projects and weekly tests
- Sports calendars
- Extracurricular activities like drama or science club
- Community groups like Boy Scouts or Brownies
You can keep all the information sheets, dates, and phone lists in one place instead of rummaging through drawers to find that piece of paper.
4. Plan a back to school dinner
The night before school starts is the perfect time to stay in and celebrate as a family. Cook up a special meal the kids will love like this 15-minute pesto pasta or cilantro-lime chicken tacos and be sure to linger around the table after you’re all done eating.
It’s natural for kids to be excited while also feeling sad to see summer end. They can experience feelings of apprehension thinking about the unknown of a new class, new school, and new friends. Dinnertime is a great time to talk about these feelings. Make a game of it with table talk. Here are a few questions you can print out and put in a jar, then pass them around and let everyone answer.
- Give your summer a grade and explain why you feel that way.
- What was the highlight of this summer?
- What did you wish we had done this summer?
- What are you looking forward to this year at school?
- What makes you a little scared about going back to school?
5. Back to school breakfast
Source: Reading Confetti
Breakfast can be a simple tradition of sticking one candle for each grade in a waffle. Sing “Happy Back to School” to the tune of “Happy Birthday,” and then let them make a wish for the school year.
6. Encourage them with lunch notes
Source: Living Locurto
Make a special snack like the cereal bars below and attach a little note of encouragement for the day. Print a sheet of these notes and keep them with your plastic bags so you remember to include them in each day’s lunch.
7. Pack them a sweet treat: Browned-Butter Cereal Bars with Chocolate Drizzle
The first day of school calls for a classic treat with a modern twist. The browned butter gives a slightly nutty flavor to these beloved cereal bars. The kids will eagerly jump in and help you drizzle them with white and milk chocolate.
- 8 ounces butter
- 1 10-1/2-ounce bag marshmallows
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 12-ounce box Rice Krispies® cereal
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided into 2 parts
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- Line a 9×13 pan with parchment or wax paper, or butter it well.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear with a golden hue, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir often.
- When butter is evenly browned, stir in marshmallows, vanilla, and salt. Melt and cook, stirring often, until mixture turns pale brown. Turn off heat, add cereal, and mix well. Use a spatula to scrape into prepared pan and press down lightly. Let cool.
- Place white chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in 30-second increments. Stir and place in a frosting bag. Snip off end of bag and drizzle back and forth over cereal bars. Repeat process with milk chocolate chips. Cool and cut into bars.
8. Capture the moments
Pictures create a great snapshot of how the kids are growing and changing. They give you lifelong memories that you’ll all cherish down the line. Make sure to take a few minutes to capture the first day. Be creative and think beyond the standard shots by adding a sign or a funny face. Some other ideas are:
- Pick a place to take a photo every year, like the front door, so you can see how they’re growing up
- Sibling photos
- Parent photos
- Teacher and child photos
- Gather their friends outside the classroom for a snapshot
9. Make a grade sign
Source: I Heart Naptime
It’s easy to print out homemade or already created signs, then tape a pencil to the back and have your child hold it up for a photo session before school.
10. Have fun with a chalkboard sign
Source: Adventures of Bradysitting
Get a chalkboard sign and document the day. Before you send them off to school, erase your first message and write something funny like “Stop crying, Mom!”