School supplies? Bought and organized in backpack. New clothes for fall?Washed, folded and ready to wear. Hair? Cut. Lunches? Packed. Child? Kicking and screaming and threatening to run away from home rather than go back to school.
It’s hard to spend two and a half months having fun, playing at home or going to camp. Can you still remember how you felt before the first day of school when you were a kid? I can sum up my annual first-day jitters in four words: "I don’t wanna go."
What can you do to make the transition from summer to school easier on your child? Try these fun ideas.
Back-to-school breakfast – Your kids will be thrilled to wake up on the first day of school to an exciting tablescape celebrating all the fun things about going back to school! Decorate the table with colorful school supplies, apples, and signs of encouragement. Then serve them a healthy breakfast to fuel their day. Include a little boxed or wrapped gift for the kids to open when they get home from school. They’ll look forward to the surprise all day long!
First day photo – This tradition will follow your child throughout his school career. On the first day of every school year, when his sneakers are clean and his clothes are crisp, snap a photo of him with a sign that identifies the school year. The photo series will be a cute way to mark the passage of time and the growth of your child. If you want to get creative you can also include other info, like what your child currently wants to be when he grows up, or today’s trends and favorites.
Smartie Pants – “Hey there, Smartie Pants. Have a great first day!” Include this encouraging note with a single pack of Smarties in your child’s backpack. Let her find it hidden in a pocket during the school day for a sweet surprise and a reminder that you’re thinking about her and wishing her the best on her first day.
New school tour – If your child is starting at a new school this year, or going to school for the first time, set up a tour of the building before school starts. Bring a camera and take photos of everything: teachers, classroom, lockers, bathroom, etc. Encourage your child to go through the photos a few times before school starts. Not only will the tour help him to feel less overwhelmed and more comfortable on the first day, the photos will make everything seem familiar, so your child can start school with confidence, rather than anxiety.
Lunchbox love notes – Serve your child a smile for lunch with a little note from you tucked inside the lunchbox. Download free printables, or scribble a quick personalized note on a napkin or notepad. It’s a small gesture on your part but it will mean a whole lot to your child. If your child takes lunch every day, don’t just send a love note on the first day. Send one every day!
What will you do to celebrate the first day of school this year? Share your ideas in the comments below.