Our Back to School Traditions {plus some FREE printable lunchbox notes}

Unexpectedkindness is themost powerful,least costly, andmost underratedagent of humanchangeIt's the day before the first day of school for my kids, and although we had a great summer, I also CANNOT WAIT FOR THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL AGAIN. I've got one going into 5th, one going into 3rd, and one starting Pre-K (and my two little ladies will be home with me). We've done the shopping, gotten the hair cuts, laid out the first day outfits. Each year we try to do something fun for the beginning of the school year, but this year with Jack starting I really want to pay attention to these new beginnings and celebrate them with a positive note to get going on the right foot, something we can keep doing year after year as a new family tradition.

A Back to School tradition isn't just a fun way to mark the start of a new year, it can also help soothe some of the anxiety of a new classroom, a new teacher, having to make new friends, and adding in something fun can be a special last hurrah to summer before the routine starts again. Here are a few cute ideas to incorporate into your first days or first week...

  • Breakfast for dinner the night before (always a hit, and so easy) find my favorite pancake recipe here
  • The Back to School Fairy: I'll admit, I sometimes balk at the idea of giving the kids gifts for every single thing nowadays (cough cough Elf on a Shelf), but I love the idea of a little fairy gifting them with a little note to pump them up for the next day and maybe a special school supply item, a sparkly pencil or something little they can hold on to on that sometimes intimidating first day.
  • Photos: I know this seems like an obvious one, but don't miss out on the chance to document these days, it doesn't have to be some elaborate posed photo with a personalized chalkboard with their future goals and dreams written on it or anything, but just a quick snap to be able to look back and see how much they've grown is so worth it.
  • Lunchbox love notes: You don't have to commit to doing it every single day (we all know mornings can get a little hairy) but doing it just for the first week is a sweet way to let them know you're thinking of them while they're gone (even if that thinking about them is a mini celebration for you as well)...Click the photo below for some I created for my two older kiddos to just print out, cut out and pop into lunchboxes.
  • If you have an anxious little one heading off for the first time, consider giving them a photo of you or even just cut out a little heart to put in their pocket. Tell them they can reach into their pocket any time to feel the love you sent into school with them, it's a a tangible reminder of you that might get them through some of the tougher moments of that first day.
  • Make a little something for after the big day, some streamers to rip through the front door, some balloons, a little celebration to let them know it's a big deal to start a new year. Even without a little extra hoopla, make sure to sit down with them when you have your chance to go over the day and talk about the highs and lows.

As for us, we're going to do a pizza party and an early family movie tonight, and our traditional pancake breakfast tomorrow. I'll be making these smoothies to get the kids started out healthy in the new year, and Name Bubbles has some great free photo printables for every grade here. Click here for some help streamlining your morning routine and click here for my number one back to school organization tip! I wish all of you good luck with your first days back! xoxo quotes