*Update: We have since made the leap into home educating, but I look back on these moments with such fondness and love that these traditions are part of our family’s story. I hope you find these ideas inspiring for your own family!
Over the years, our family has developed a few annual activities that the kids seem to get excited for and really get us all jazzed up for another year as well as beginning it with a positive foot forward. I have heard of many ideas from many families, but today I am going to share with you our family’s favorite back-to-school traditions.
This has become a bigger event each year as more of our kids start school and now it’s a full-fledged family day. We start off at our favorite mall here in town and take to our favorite stores to find the kids their back-to-school fashion – from top to bottom. And once everyone has had their fill of dressing room fashion shows, we pick a favorite place to eat and enjoy lunch all together.
As for school supplies, we used to brave the stores alongside everyone else while fighting to find just the right supplies that the kids’ teachers request. However, this year we switched it up a little and did all of our supply shopping online using Amazon Prime. The kids and I hunkered down in my office as we camped in front of the computer picking our favorite pencils, the cutest folders, and just the right color of pencil boxes/pouches. I asked the kids what they thought was better – shopping in the store or online – and the response was unanimous. We love online shopping when it comes to school supplies especially because we can buy in bulk on Amazon! Hello, new tradition.
That same night (yes, it’s an exhausting day), the kids love to look through all of their new purchases and decide on THE outfit for the big day. Some may even try the entire outfit on and model it one more time for Mom and Dad.
Fast forward to the day before school starts. The kids and I sit down and divide up all of the school supplies and prep their backpacks. We then sit down and enjoy a big, traditional dinner. Each year we have the kids choose what their favorite dinner is and we go all-out in holiday-style fashion as we prep an amazing meal for our family to enjoy the night before the big day. We go around the table and talk about things we are looking forward to and goals we want to set for the year. The kids get to chat about new activities they want to try out and the friends they will get to reconnect with. It really is a wonderful time for our family to prepare and get excited for the school year.
After dinner, we sit down as a family as my husband gives each of the kids a “father’s blessing”. It’s a special prayer for each of our kids that they will enjoy school, have confidence in meeting new people and trying new experiences, comfort in being away from home every day as well as the patience in learning the new things they will. It’s a tender and sweet moment for each of our children and one tradition that I grew up with as well. Those prayers I received from my father truly calmed my nerves and helped me prepare myself for a brand new year and all that goes with it.
Last for that evening is our family chat about all things preparations for any emergency that may arise. We talk about who is allowed to pick them up, what happens if Mom and Dad are not there at the end of the day as well as rules for riding bikes to and from school, safety, etc. We take it one step further and also discuss the Family Emergency Plan if something bigger were to happen. FEMA has created a wonderful tool for families to use and we print this out as we go through our plan and update it as we need to for the year.
Each of the kids’ information is filled out and then the card is added to their backpack for them to have the information on hand if they need it. I would have never guessed that I would be having these types of conversations when I was a newlywed, but any parent knows the anxiety that sometimes comes with the job as we send our children off day in and day out in today’s world. And while I hope we never have to put this type of plan into action, I love that our family doesn’t ignore the subject, but instead prepares for possibilities that could arise.
We keep these simple and meaningful. Something that will inspire them for the upcoming year and all that they will experience and face. I shared more about this specific tradition in another post right here.
Once we get all of the kids prepped for bed and tucked in for the night, Dad and I then spend some time writing letters to each of the kids that will are placed on their nightstands for them to read as they wake up – basically letting them know how much we love them, how proud we are of them as well as how excited we are to watch them grow during the school year. We also quickly jot out lunchbox love notes and add that to each lunch. The first day can be hard for some little ones and despite telling them constantly, they still don’t believe that we think about them non-stop while they are away from us. They would probably be shocked at the truth of that, but we love for them to have a little something during their day that gives them some love and so they know that we are thinking about them.
And there you have it – our family’s favorite back-to-school traditions! I’m sure some new ones will be added over the years as well as some that will change, but our main goal with these traditions is to build a positive excitement for a brand new year and the experiences they will have.
I hope you find this inspiring to add traditions to your home to enjoy year after year!
back to school