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First Day of School Rituals That Make Back-to-School Time Special

Start a new tradition or tell us about your favorite 1st day activity


First Day of School Ideas, First Day of School, First Day of School pictures

Looking for first day of school ideas? How about taking the kids' photos with a sign, like this chalkboard one, that shows your children's grade level year after year? Or you could slip love notes into lunchbox. What are your back to school rituals?

Megan Cooley

Does your family have a first day of school ritual you do year after year, like taking a back-to-school photo in the same spot every September or leaving love notes in your kids' lunches?

I think heading to school is worth celebrating as much as any holiday or birthday. It's important to associate positive feelings with school, and what better way to do that than to treat it like other special times of year?

You could throw a back-to-school bash, but if you don't have the time to throw a party, there are little things you can do elevate the first day of school a bit.

In our house, that means making a big breakfast and taking a photo of the kids holding signs that show their year in school (an ideas I first saw on the fabulous blog Inchmark).

Here are more first day of school rituals you could start with your family:

  • Have a back-to-school treat waiting for everyone when they get home in the afternoon.
  • Take a photo of the kids before they head for the bus. Take the picture in the same spot every year, such as on a front porch. If your children are still young, consider planting a sapling and then taking the picture next to it every September so you can watch how big the tree grows over the years (not to mention the kids!).
  • Take a photo of the child standing next to his or her teacher.
  • Greet the neighborhood kids with cookies or other small treats as they step off the bus in the afternoon.
  • Slip love notes in lunch boxes.
  • Serve a special dinner the night before or the night of the first day of school.
  • Give the child a small gift at the end of the day, such as a diary.
  • Taking a cue from a particular TV commercial, draw a heart on the palm of your child's hand with a felt pen so they can be reminded of you whenever they see it during the school day.
  • Read a back-to-school book, like The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (compare prices), to your children on the eve of the first day. They might roll their eyes by the time they're seniors in high school, but I bet deep down they will love the ritual (and don't be surprised if they repeat it with their own kids one day).

What is your family's first-day-of-school ritual?

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