The years seem to pick up speed as your child gets older. One minute they are getting on the bus headed to Kindergarten and then what seems like a blink of an eye, they are walking across the stage to receive their diploma at high school graduation. Don’t let these school years go by in a blur. Capture the first day of school with a tradition the kids will look forward to every year.
Freeze a memory
1. Drive to the high school your child will be attending a few days before their new school year begins. Capture a picture of your child standing by the marquee or standing in front of the building near the front door. You can also snap a pic of your kid gazing up at the school while wearing their favorite outfit. Taken every year, this makes a great collage of photos to display at their high school graduation party.
2. Every year before school starts, purchase a Time magazine or a Maclean’s magazine. Have your child pose with the cover to show what was headlining the news that year.
3. Buy a shirt from the high school spirit store in an adult size. Take a picture of your child wearing the shirt with their backpack on the ground next to them. When you look back several years later, this is a great way to show how they and their choice of backpacks changed over the years, and how quickly they grew into that oversized shirt.
4. Pose your student standing next to you in front of your house. Bring enough books for your child to stand on until they are as tall as you. As the years go by and your child grows, they will need less and less books to stand on in order to be near or the same height as you. (As for high school pictures, mom might be the one standing on the books.)
5. Don’t forget to get a picture of mom and dad on the first day of school. Capture mom’s tears as the bus drives away and don’t miss mom and dad high fiving as the last child leaves the house.
Cook up something good
6. The night before school starts, bake a round loaf of bread and place a clean nickel or dime in the dough before it bakes. Before dinner, have all the kids hold on to a piece of the bread and break it off. The one that gets the nickel or dime will have extra good luck this year at school.
7. Start the day off right with a special breakfast. Choose a traditional breakfast of eggs and toast, whip up a smoothie for a light and healthy meal, or lighten the mood with something silly like cookie-cutter pancakes with whipped cream.
8. Shop with your child before school starts and let them choose a special back-to-school lunch. Go beyond the sandwich to find yogurt parfaits, fruit pizza, or ham and cheese kabobs. Don’t forget to include a loving note from you along with a small sweet treat.
9. When your child comes home from their first day of school, they may want to share with you all the details about their teacher(s), class(es) and happenings of their day. Make the convo extra special by preparing a scrumptious after-school snack, like an ice cream sundae bar or a colorful fruit trifle to share.
Watch them grow
10. On the first day of school, measure your child from head to toe with a piece of string cut to their height. Put the string in an envelope and mark it with the date. At the end of the year, measure them again and see how much they grew this year.
11. Plant a tree in celebration of your child starting Kindergarten. Every year, snap a pic of your child in front of that tree and watch them both grow.
12. Make a back-to-school flag out of white cloth to hang in front of your house. Every year, add your child’s hand prints using different colored paints. Include the date and their age to create a treasure that you look forward to showing off every year.
13. Make concrete stepping stones with your child’s footprints and the date. Let your child decorate and add the stones to your yard to create a wonderful memory garden.
14. Have a back-to-school bash! This is a great way to reconnect with all the kids you did not get to see over the summer. Rent a large slip and slide or a bounce castle, cook up some hot dogs and pass out the popsicles. Enjoy one last hoorah before school starts.
15. Your tweens and teens will be happy with an evening bonfire to ‘mourn’ the end of summer. Bring out the speakers and let the kids plug in their own music. Provide a bonfire, plenty of snacks, and enough seating for everyone.
16. Don’t forget a party for the parents! A first-day- of-school potluck is a great opportunity for parents to celebrate the return of a normal family routine.
Pam is a freelance writer, and a mother of three. This is her thirteenth new school year as a parent.
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