15 Back-to-School Traditions You Should Start With Your Kids This Year
Traditions can be very powerful — your kids will likely remember your quirky routines for years and years to come. Back-to-school season is the perfect time to start a tradition, because let's face it, you and the kids could both use something fun to look forward to as the Summer comes to a close.
Whether you have a tradition already or not, read through for 15 back-to-school traditions you should start with your kids this year.
Take first-day-of-school grade photos.
When it comes to school photos, the focus tends to be on school picture day. Take a bunch of photos on every first day of school and frame your favorites together so that on their last first day of school they’ll have a huge collage of their entire school career (that doesn't feature weird tie-dye backgrounds)!
Make a fancy first-day-of-school breakfast.
Whether you crowdsource and ask the kids what they want to eat on their first day or make something super special that feels like a huge treat — like a huge stack of funfetti pancakes! — eating breakfast together that first morning makes for a great photo op and a tradition they’ll look forward to. (It can also help ease them into their first day if they’re feeling a little worried.)
Host a school-supplies scavenger hunt.
Go on a solo trip to grab all of the supplies on their lists, then color code each child’s supplies and hide things all around the house the night before school starts for them to find. The first kiddo to complete their list and pack all of their supplies in their bookbag gets a special treat.
Ask the same questions every first day of school.
Make a list of questions to ask your child on every first day of school to make a little time capsule of who they are at that time. Read their previous answers every year and then compile them all to see how much they changed year to year or to see what things stayed the same over the years.
- Who is your best friend?
- What is your favorite book?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What is your favorite food?
- What is your favorite subject in school?
- What is your favorite thing to do?
Record a video.
Take a video of your child on the first day of school telling you how old they are, what grade they’re going into, what their teacher’s name is, and anything else relevant to the time (you could even have them answer the questions mentioned before). You’ll get a little snapshot of what your child looks like, what your child sounds like, and how they hold themselves every single year.
Make them wear a “Class of 20__” t-shirt every year.
Make or buy a t-shirt in an adult size that has your child’s graduating high school class on it. Put them in it every year (it will be adorably huge in the beginning) and make a collage to give to them at high school graduation. By the time that day comes around, they’ll fit into the shirt and can wear it for years to come.
Have a mom-and-me date night.
Take each of your children on a “Mom-and-me” or “Dad-and-me” date night before school starts. Let them pick an activity to do or a place to eat out, and savor the last of the slow Summer with them before the crazy back-to-school schedules take over.
Water balloon the bus.
Rally the mom troops at your child’s bus stop and bombard the kids with water balloons as soon as they’re safely off the bus (and across any streets). You’ll get tons of cool mom points every year, and your kids will look forward to the brawl at the end of every first day.
Make lunches together.
Create a lunch station full of sandwich fixings and snacks and let your kids help you make their own first-day-of-school lunch. Play music and make it fun — it's something simple that will stick with your kids!
Make them write their name.
Especially in the early school years, your child’s handwriting will change a lot from year to year. Have them write their name on the first day of school and compare them every year to see how their writing skills have improved, and collect them all to make a collage or to put with each first-day-of-school photo.
See if the backpack fairy pays a visit.
Throughout the first few weeks of school, tell younger children that the backpack fairy will come whenever their homework is done and their backpacks are packed and ready to go for the next morning. The fairy will leave little notes or treats in the backpacks of the kids who are ready every night. This makes for a fun tradition the kids can look forward to, but it also serves as a way to help them hold themselves accountable. Win-win!
Give them a new book.
Buy your child a new book to read every year, write them a note on the inside cover, wrap it up, and present it to them either on the first morning of school or with dinner that night. Gifts are always fun, and this gift will be educational and encourage your child to read.
Have a family movie night.
Have a family movie night every year either on the last night of Summer or after the first day of school to spend some quality time together. Go out to the movies or make some popcorn at home and cuddle together on the couch — it’s a night the kids will look forward to every year.
Write them a letter.
Every year before their first day, write them a letter. The content could be anything, really, and you could decide to save them all and give them to them for their high school graduation, or include the letter with their lunch so that they can read something from you while they eat their sandwich.
Buy a new backpack/first-day outfit/lunch bag together.
Though this is something you likely do every year, make a tradition of buying one of the essential back-to-school items with them and take a photo of them with their picks on their first day. It’s something small that they can remember you doing, and you don’t have to go too far out of your way to make this one happen.