The nerves have kicked in, and the start of a new school year is filled with anxious anticipation. There are mixed emotions about meeting new classmates and teachers while also reuniting with old ones. This is both an exciting time and a scary new adventure for kids as they enter into a new grade level.
You can help ease these emotions by turning the first day of school into a celebration filled with special memories that kids will look forward to each year. Here are 3 ways to make the day feel extra special:
1. Start with an out-of-the-ordinary breakfast
Not only do you want your kids to go to school well-nourished, but they might also need an extra boost on an early morning. It’s likely the kids haven’t had to be up and alert this early for a while. Get them started on the right foot by making a special breakfast. This might be as simple as replacing the ordinary cereal with a hot meal and a little extra time to check in and see how everyone is feeling. Or, you can turn the meal into something that pertains specifically to the day such as serving pancakes in the shape of the grade each child is entering (6 for a sixth grader, 3 for a third grader, etc.). Come up with a fun-filled meal that involves more choice by creating a waffle or toast bar with lots of toppings to choose from or a create-your-own yogurt parfait bar in fun parfait glasses. Whatever you do, make it a morning to remember that will distract the kids from their nerves.
2. Create and implement special traditions to do each year on this day
Will you send a special surprise or note in their lunch reminding them of all they’ve accomplished over the past year? Will you take a picture with the kids in their first day of school outfits and backpacks by the front door that will help everyone see the progress year after year? Will you snap a photo of the kids at their desk in the classroom when they get settled in? Whatever you do to commemorate the day, make it something that the kids will remember and want to repeat each year. Consider doing something that will allow the kids to keep track of their progress and how they’ve changed from year-to-year.
3. End the day with a celebratory dinner
There is undoubtedly lots to talk about after a first day filled with new faces, familiar friends, new learning adventures, etc. Give the kids an opportunity to share all about what they did plus what they do and do not look forward to about the upcoming year over a celebratory meal. Whether this is at a special restaurant or over a special meal at home, create time and space to allow them to discuss their day. Even consider using special plates or your best dishes to demonstrate the significance of this day. The conversation will also give you insight to help you anticipate what the year ahead may hold for your child so you are ready to be there for them in the most supportive way possible.
Whatever you choose to do, the first day of school is a great time to love on and celebrate your kids and to reminisce about how much they’ve grown. Make it enjoyable for all of you!