I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. It seems like summer is getting shorter and shorter every year. Yet, the days still seem so long- how does that work?!
I think this summer seemed to fly by faster than others because we built a pool. It’s been a party in our backyard all day, every day!
And suddenly, here we are... taking inventory off school clothes, checking ads for the cheapest school supplies, and having endless conversations about who are new teachers will be and what it will be like in their new grade levels.
This year the unknown is at the forefront of concerns as we are starting in the neighborhood school of our new home. We left a school where we knew nearly every face at parent pick up and almost every single teacher and staff member by name. It’s difficult for all of us to be starting over. I feel a LOT of pressure to keep the excitement level up in the days leading up to the first day of school.
Luckily, last year I felt like I really honed in on what first day of school traditions worked for us as a family and I plan to stick with them from here on out. Hopefully they will be enough to keep everyone positive and get our year started off on the right foot.
#1 Bake cookies for their teachers (and staff)
My father -in-law may or may not have called me a suck up when he saw me baking these one year. And I couldn’t care less. Everybody likes cookies. Everybody. Especially exhausted teachers. Even if your kiddo’s teacher happens to be making healthy dietary choices, s/he will still appreciate the thought and can pass them on to another deserving coworker, or maybe even use them to try to keep their own kids from bugging them to go home while they try to get everything set for the next school day. I like to add a little note to personalize it.
#2 Decorate the Kitchen Table
I always do some combination of Dollar Tree table covers, maybe a little shredded paper or confetti, the confetti mobiles I hung on the last day of school, a little sign and some small decor (I purchased mine from the Target value bin over the last couple of years), and maybe a little decoration with their name on it or a little note of encouragement. Done.
#3 Decorate Their Bedroom Doors
This one is my favorite. I wait for them to fall asleep and then I sneak in to their room and I decorate one or both sides of their door with little accents I find in the teacher section of Jo-Ann Craft Store or on Amazon. I usually personalize them with their nicknames, their new grade level, the subjects they love, and encouraging phrases. It makes their faces light up and I can see the anxiousness fade away a bit. If you only adopt one of these traditions, let it be this one!
#4 Homemade Breakfast
Honestly, the only reason I can pull this one off is that my husband usually takes the morning of the first day of school off. I am not a morning person. At all. So he usually mans the griddle. But, I know that I can still come through with real food if I ever need to fly solo on the first day of school by making a homemade quiche the night before.
#5 Take Their Picture with a Sign
Ok so maybe this one isn’t unique. But I love it. And it’s cute. And the sign doesn’t have to be the standard “First Day of _.” On my daughter’s first day of kindergarten I had her hold up a picture of a book entitled, “Look Out KIndergarten, Here I Come.” It’s totally blurry because she was SO EXCITED and wouldn't stay still. Also I was pregnant and could barely see through the view finder I was crying so hard. But I treasure it just the same.
#6 Pictures of Them Walking to School
My friend teases me about this one but, once again- don’t care. It’s all about the memories. I like to get at least one of them walking in front of me (so all I see are their huge, new backpacks and skinny legs sticking out from underneath) and at least one from across the street as they pass me. It’s full on Momarazzi style all down the street as I run ahead and then stop to get another shot. Most of them are semi blurry but I usually get a few that capture the moment. And I’m cool with looking ridiculous. It keeps me from crying too hard. Oh and if we can get a shot of them walking through the gate, I get that, too.
A part of me is really sad that my oldest hasn’t had the opportunity to enjoy each of these traditions every school year. It took me a couple of years to figure some of them out. But hopefully I will be able to be consistent from here on out and looking back, that’s what she will (as well as my younger kiddos) will remember. And hopefully your family will adopt them and enjoy the first day of school to the fullest, too!
I’d love to hear how you make the first day of school memorable in your house- leave a comment below!
Happy pencil sharpening and lunchbox packing, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!
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