Celebrate Back to School

Aug 2, 2018 | Today's Family Now

Back to School time is a mixed bag of emotions for me. On one hand, I dread the rigid schedule that comes along with the start of school. I have three children who think midnight is a perfectly acceptable bedtime, and while this works fine during the summer months, it makes the first few weeks of school an even harder adjustment. 
We spend endless hours together during the summer, and I truly miss them when they are gone all day. But let’s be honest, it’s not all bad. There is a real sense of relief that my job as Cruise Director on the Summer Ship of Fun is over for the season. I will no longer need to lie in bed at night wracking my brain for entertainment options to fill the long, hot hours of our summer days. 
The house will remain picked up and I will travel alone and in utter peace through the aisles of Target. I will meet my husband for coffee and make lunch dates with friends I haven’t spoken to since May. Tasks on my to-do list will be finished without interruption. Since change can be hard, for little and big people alike, I have put together a list of ideas to make the Back To School transition a little easier (and a whole lot more fun!). 
Make school supply shopping fun. 
Even if you opt for the pre-packaged bundle offered from the school, it’s fun to hit the stores and pick up a special item or two. The bins of glue sticks and brightly colored Crayola products have a way of igniting excitement in even the most reluctant child. Have lunch or grab ice cream afterward.
Jot a note or add a special treat to their lunch boxes.
Since lunch is the halfway point of the school day, they might benefit from a few words of encouragement from home. For younger kids, the knowledge that there is a surprise tucked inside waiting for them may help ease them out of your arms and into the building.
Think of a way to bless your new teacher. 

Teachers are struggling to transition out of summer mode, too, and a little token of appreciation up front can set a positive tone for the coming year. We brainstorm ideas together and have given everything from flowers in a crayon vase to a Yeti cup to keep coffee hot. The kids love the idea of taking a gift in on that first morning  and thinking of someone else seems to take  a little of the focus off of any jitters they may  be experiencing.


Plan a back to school dinner. 
We get dressed up and go out for steak the night before school begins, but a delivery pizza or a breakfast for dinner tradition would work just as well. As we eat, we encourage each of the kids to set goals regarding academics, sports, and friendships. We discuss any fears or anxieties they may have about the upcoming year, and we say a prayer for their safety and success. After dinner we give them a Schultüte (German word meaning ‘school cone’) filled with a few school related gifts, from a new pair of school shoes or uniform piece to a shiny pencil box. They look forward to this tradition each year.
Think ahead to make the first day breakfast special.  

Getting the day started on a positive and happy note goes a long way to ensure that the first day back will be a success. I decorate a little table for them and choose a simple menu that I know won’t add any stress to an already hectic morning. (Hint: school supplies can double as place setting decor.)



Welcome them home with a fun snack and clear your schedule to listen to the details of their day.  
In our family, this looks like taking turns from youngest to oldest, each sharing something, until they run out of things to share!