Back to School Traditions

In Germany, kids get a Schultüte (school cone) on their very first day of school, when they enter first grade. The paper cone is filled with school supplies and treats, and signifies the rite of passage of the child from kindergarten to first grade. As you prepare your child for a new year at school, this sweet German tradition may come in handy to make the first day of school special. Or you can create your own back to school tradition that is unique to your family. Here are some ideas:

An annual back-to-school dinner the night before the first day is the simplest way to celebrate the end of summer holidays and a new beginning. Go out for a sushi dinner or get Chinese takeout so you can spend the time to talk with your child about things to look forward to, and calm their fears and nerves.

Take a first day photo each year but with a twist. Have your child hold the first day photo from last year. This has a ripple effect so the second grade photo of your child holding the first grade photo, which has her holding up her kindergarten photo Soon enough, your kids will be reminding you to print out the previous year’s photo for the picture.

Have a ‘new school shoe’ outing. Have your child put on his new shoes for school and go for a family walk to talk about the best moments of summer.

Do a little video interview with your child and ask him his favorite things, his best day of summer and what he would like to become when he grows up. As the years go by, they are sure to become precious time capsules that will be fun to watch over and over again. Make sure you repeat the same questions each year so you have a live chart of his evolving tastes and ideas.

Organize a ‘last day of summer fun’ where they get to wear pajamas all day, eat junk food and generally do whatever they want. It’ll give them a much-needed opportunity to relax before the grind begins.

Celebrate with the other moms on the block. Meet for coffee at someone’s house and cheer as the kids leave for school together. After all, back to school is a call to routine for parents as much as it is for kids.

On the first and last day of each school year, take the kids to the fancier ice cream place in the neighborhood – one that you don’t go to very often. Get a big scoop of ice cream and celebrate. It’s a good way to unwind and hear about their thoughts and ideas.

Bake cupcakes with them and stick edible crayons in the middle. Invite a friend or two from school for a play date and to enjoy the baked goodies. The cupcake party is sure to be a hit with your child and get them excited about a new school year.