10 Fun Tips For Back to School
As July comes to an end and August begins to appear, much to the dismay of children everywhere, parents begin to think about preparing for back to school. As a kid, I remember having so much fun in the summer running around my neighborhood, playing with the neighborhood kids, watching television when I wanted to, sleeping in, and enjoying life with no responsibility. When it was tiime to prepare for school though, I didn't mind too much, because I enjoyed buying my new school supplies. I kept my paper bag of supplies in my room, and for days before school started, I would take them all out, look them over, open the glue paste (remember this), try out the ruler, and imagine what the new year would be like.
Our Family Traditions
I try really hard to make going back to school fun for my children. This year they will be entering 10th, 7th, and 1st grades. The only one somewhat nervous is my 7th grader because at the school my children attend, 7th grade begins what they consider "the high school side" of the school. All of them, thankfully, enjoy school and do really well, but we have traditions that we started when my first child began school that helps them to prepare for the new school year. I enjoy taking all of them to the store to buy their new school supplies, and I try, though they have a school supply list that can be fairly specific, to let them get some fun items. Fun pencils, character notebooks, locker decorations, or new lunchboxes go a long way in making back to school fun. We go by their school during the week before school starts so that they can say hello to their teachers. In their small school, unless a transition takes place, they know the teachers from year to year (in elementary school there is only one class of every grade and in high school there are specific teachers that teach subject areas) so they know who they will have. They can put supplies in lockers or find their desks. Also, the night before school starts, we always have chocolate chip pancakes for dinner. This began when my 15 year old was starting 4 year old Kindergarten and he was allowed to choose anything he wanted for the night before school. The tradition stuck.
Ideas For Making Back to School Fun
There are so many things that parents and children can do to make going back to school an exciting and enjoyable time. Below are some suggestions.
1. Go shopping for school supplies together and make it a fun outing. Let your children pick out some special supplies that they will look forward to using. You may have specific items, such as a three ring binder, pencils, etc, but let them choose the colors or styles. If cost is a factor, choose most items that are on sale but let your child pick one or two special items on the list. For example, buy cost effective pens, pencils, and crayons, but let them choose a notebook with a favorite character on it.
2. Go school clothes shopping using the same idea as above. If your child has to wear uniforms to school, let them pick out special accessories like belts, hairbands, socks, and other things that add individuality to the outfit. My children have to wear uniforms, and it is amazing what types of things they come up with. I also make sure that if most uniforms are passed down from child to child or friend to friend, I make sure that I buy something new for the first day. That way they feel everything is new and exciting.
3. After shopping for clothes or supplies, have a special lunch out to celebrate. Talk about what the year will be like. For younger kids especially, it is fun to discuss what they might learn in the new year. Is cursive writing anticipated, or reading certain books, or are they now eligible for the spelling bee? What will be new for your child this year that they have anticipated. For my children, 4th grade is always an anticipation because that is the year they do a lesson on Florida history and get to go to the capitol, Tallahassee. They look forward to this for years.
4. Plan an end of the summer party for your child's friends. Make it a back to school theme. Serve cupcakes with a back to school theme (can find many ideas on line) and give out some party favors that include small erasers, stickers, a pencil, or other small school supplies.
5. If you already know of new children that will be in your child's class or just know children from past years that will be in his or her class, schedule a park day or time to get together somewhere else so that the kids can become reacquainted or get to know new children before school starts. This way new children will feel less apprehensive and returning students will remember what made school enjoyable, the social life!!
6. Start a first day of school tradition. Plan for a special breakfast or dinner to celebrate. Have cookies ready when the kids get home.
7. Rearrange your child's room to make a special homework area. Set up a desk with new supplies.
8. Sit down ahead of time with your children and create a fun new lunch menu. Think out of the square (sandwich that is). Try rolled up meat and cheese, fruit or veggies with dip, home made trail mix, or other creative ideas besides the traditional sandwich and bag of chips.
9. Let your child pick out or make a small gift for their new teacher.
10. Check with the teacher ahead of time and find out if it is OK to make back to school cookies or cupcakes for the class. Let your child help make the special treat for all of his or her school friends.