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 upcoming year.
- 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 confident.
- 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 wake-up.
- 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.