I am a sucker for family traditions. When my daughter was starting Pre-K, I wanted to start a tradition that we could go back to again and again to celebrate the start of a new school year. I knew that as the youngest in the school (her birthday being only nine days before the cut-off), she may struggle. She’s absolutely brilliant, but at so young an age, months make an incredible difference in emotional maturity and physical coordination. I wanted to pump her up to get excited about a new experience and to give her tools for success.
So Back to School Brunch and Backpacks was born.
On the Sunday before school starts, we have a party. Friends and grandparents are invited. It’s a full-scale brunch with a sparkling juice bar. We go all out on making a huge brunch (the leftovers of which double as meal prep for breakfast that week). Pancakes, bacon, egg waffles, eggs, sprinkles, syrups, whipped cream. Whatever the kids are really enjoying.
And then the best part – I stuff their backpacks with presents.
Do you know what I am a huge fan of? Packaging things I would have bought for my children anyway as gifts so they get super excited. As all parents with school-age children are grappling with right now, the start of a school year comes with shopping for stuff. For that first year, my daughter needed a backpack, water bottles, and a lunch box. I probably got her a few outfits, books, and writing supplies. I remember that first year getting her a bow with the school’s logo embroidered on it. And she absolutely lost her mind with excitement.
I am still figuring out this year, but so far, our girls will be receiving water bottles, mommy and me bracelets, books, and writing supplies. Other ideas are welcome.
(Side note – I use similar strategies at Christmas (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read), Hanukkah (socks, underwear, winter clothes), and Easter (swimming gear and summer clothes). So far, it adds an incredible level of excitement and gratitude. I fear one day they will see through the charade and realize I can be a total buzz kill, but for now, we are riding that high.)
After the first day of school, we have a pizza party to talk about their day.
By making a big deal out of the new school year, we celebrate the opportunity and possibilities that the year brings. They seem to have fun, and looking back, this is time with them that I treasure.