It was the same every year. My father would stand my brother and me against a white wall and take our pictures. If I had those pictures now (fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t) you would see that they were the same terrible pictures each time. It was our back-to-school tradition. No muss, no fuss. Just a simple picture.
These days, families are encouraged to create back-to-school traditions with elaborate signs, hosting back-to-school parties, making books for every teacher in every grade to sign, and countless other painstaking traditions. While I agree that these activities are incredibly adorable, they take time-a lot of time. More time than I have on a school morning.
It’s hard enough to get myself and three kids ready to get out of the house in time for the 8am drop-off. Adding elaborate props to the list is guaranteed to make us late. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to memorialize the start of the year with something. So, for all the other busy families out there like ours, here are 5 simple back-to-school traditions even busy families can do.
5 Simple Back-to-School Traditions for Busy Families
Have a Back-to-School Dinner
Make a special dinner on the night before the first day of school, or on the night of the first day of school. Make a big deal out of it in some way. You can decorate, or you can just make your kids favorite dinner(s). I know my kids would go crazy if I offered them something as special as spaghetti and meatballs with dessert afterward. During dinner you can talk about what they hope for the new year, and work through any concerns they might have. It’s a great way to make the moment memorable and to also provide some bonding time.
Make a Back-to-School Time Capsule
I think of this as more of a last-week-of-summer activity. You can get elaborate, but I recommend keeping things simple. Mom On Time Out has an adorable how-to for making a time capsule for the whole school year, and CBS Baltimore has some more great ideas for items to include in a back-to-school time capsule. I’ve got my own plan for a simple version that I hope to implement this year…come back in September to get the details!
Interview Your Child
There are plenty of printable back-to-school interviews that you can easily download. Keep a copy in your time capsule or just scan it in and keep the digital copy for them as they get older. You both will love to go back later and see how the answers to the questions changed over the years. (Take a look at this Back-to-School Interview from Giggles Galore)
Send a Love Note in their Lunch Box
T went through a discouraging period last school year that left everyone in the house feeling sad. So I did a simple thing and starting sending printed out notes and jokes in her lunch box. Occasionally I would send a handwritten note reminding her how loved she is. Even now she talks about how special those were to her. Since she’s now a fluent reader, I plan to send an encouraging letter on the first day to set the right tone for the school year. (These printable lunchbox notes from The Country Chic Cottage Our Best Bites are a great option!)
Take a Simple Photograph
Like my father, I take a simple photograph of my kids on their first day of school. I don’t print out signs for them to hold or make t-shirts that say ‘class of 20-whatever’. Like I said, drop off is at 8am, and I’m no morning person. Neither is my husband. So we make sure to take at least one or two shots at the front door and call it good. Then I go back later and add the grade and year with either PicMonkey or Photoshop. Sure, it’s not as Pinterest-y, but it’s still cute and it fits our family’s schedule.
Do you celebrate the start of the school year?
What’s your favorite back-to-school tradition?