The first day of school is one of those butterflies-in-the-stomach, can’t-sleep-the-night-before kind of milestones, especially for children transitioning into a new school. One way to soothe frazzled nerves during this time is by establishing some simple first-day-of-school traditions for the entire family you’ll be able to follow for years to follow. Here are a few fun, healthy “new school year” rituals that are sure to earn you an A+ in the subject of Creative Parenting!
Let Them Eat (Pan)cakes
Start their day off with a smile—literally—by making fresh pancakes from scratch (or at least from a really good mix, like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix), then fashioning a smiley face from sliced fruit and raisins or nuts. As your kids get older, you can simply provide them the “blank canvas” of plain pancakes with all of the fixings they need to make their own happy face pancakes.
Hey, How Did That Get In There…?
Secretly slip in your child’s backpack a small gift that is marked, “Do Not Open Until…” whatever grade your child is going into, for him to discover once he’s sitting in his brand-new classroom for the first time. It can be something as simple as a fun pack of pencils, stickers or maybe even a little package of organic candy your child could share with a best friend, along with a note that says, “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” or simply, “Good luck!”
According German tradition, on the first day of school children are given a Schultüte—an oversized, beautifully decorated cone filled with sweets and school supplies. Genius, right? If you’re worried that your child already will be getting enough junk food from other back-to-school events, fill your child’s cone with healthy edibles instead, like Clif Kid Organic Zbars or Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Grahams.
You might be worried about getting the kids in bed at a reasonable time the night before school starts, but if you can, schedule in a classic, school-themed movie you can enjoy right along with them, like Grease, High School Musical, Clueless, or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (depending on their ages). For really little ones, make it a storytelling session and choose favorites such as Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School. Don’t forget the popcorn!
Older kids, especially those entering middle or high school, might be a little anxious about the first day and could have trouble falling asleep the night before. Learning how to relax and unwind is a skill they’ll need their entire lives—so why not give them a hand while they’re still under your roof? Run a bath and throw in some fizzy bath bombs. Afterwards, put on the kettle for some soothing chamomile tea sweetened with raw honey and ask how they’re feeling about this next big milestone.
And once everyone’s happily loaded onto that big yellow bus—maybe you should throw in a bath bomb or two and go for a second cup of tea! Back to school season can be a hectic time for parents, too. Here’s to a great year!