It's that time of year when the lazy days of summer make way for
the start of a new school year. Turn a day that can be downright
scary and stressful for some kids into a day of happiness and
excitement for the academic year to come by creating a special
family back-to-school tradition.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- In Germany, parents give their children a "Schultüte," or
school cone. This giant cardboard ice cream cone is filled with
back-to-school goodies. To make your own, roll and staple a large,
colorful poster board into a cone shape. Decorate with stickers or
markers and fill it with funky pens, erasers, bright Post-it notes,
highlighters, a new pair of socks and a healthy treat or two. Even
high schoolers will appreciate this token of good luck for the
- Surprise your child with a brand-new lunchbox, and make a date
for a special grocery shopping trip to buy goods for the first
couple weeks of school lunches. We like the Goodbyn
(www.goodbyn.com), a sustainable, reusable bento-style lunch box
that's dishwasher safe and comes with stickers for personalizing.
Every once in awhile, write a little note and stick it into your
child's lunchbox. "Hope you're having a great day!" or "I love you"
is always reassuring to read, as is a good joke!
- Take a first day of school photo in the same spot every year.
Have your child hold up their fingers indicating what grade they're
about to enter. Make the photo even more special by shopping for a
special back-to-school outfit that makes your child feel
- Invite over a couple of friends who will be in your child's
classroom the upcoming year for an end-of-summer play date.
- Take a moment as a family to discuss goals for the upcoming
school year, making sure to establish what steps will likely need
to be taken to get from point A to B. Moms and Dads: this is a
great time to revive your New Year's resolutions!
- Prepare a special breakfast and make time to enjoy it as a
family: Make banana pancakes and drizzle on smiley faces with
chocolate syrup, gather a variety of fillings for egg white omelets
(cheese, mushrooms, spinach) or prep carrot-raisin muffins the
night before by freezing, then baking in the oven upon
- Reconnect after the first day of school by heading out for a
relaxing walk in the park with a stop for an ice cream treat.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
See more of Amy's stories here.