The years seem to pick up speed as your child gets older. One minute they are getting on the bus for kindergarten, and in the blink of an eye, they are walking across the stage at their high school graduation. Don’t let those 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
- Drive to your local high school a few days before school starts. Capture a picture of your child standing by the marquee or in front of the building near the front door. You can also catch a picture of your child gazing up at the school while wearing his backpack. Taken every year, this makes a great collage of photos to display at their high school graduation party.
- Every year before school starts, purchase a Time magazine and a People magazine. Have him pose with the covers to show what was in the news that year.
- Buy a t-shirt from the high school spirit store in an adult size. Take a picture of the child wearing the shirt with her backpack on the ground next to her. It is a great way to show how she and her choice of backpacks change over the years.
- Pose your student standing next to mom or dad in front of the house. Bring enough books for your child to stand on until he is as tall as his parent. As the years go by and your child grows, the child will need fewer and fewer books to stand on. In his high school pictures, Mom might be the one standing on the books.
- 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
- The night before school starts, bake a round loaf of bread and place a clean penny 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 penny will have extra good luck this year at school.
- 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.
- Shop with your child before school starts and let him 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 a note from Mom and a Hershey’s kiss.
- Prepare a special after school snack like an ice cream sundae bar or colorful fruit trifle. When your child comes home from school, he will want to tell you all about his teacher, his classes and his day.
Watch them grow
- On the first day of school, measure your child from head to toe with a piece of string cut to his height. Put the string in an envelope and mark it with the date. At the end of the year, measure him again and see how much he grew this year.
- Plant a tree in celebration of your child starting kindergarten. Every year, take a picture of your child in front of the tree and watch them both grow.
- Make a back to school flag out of white cloth to hang in front of the house. Every year, add your child’s hand prints using different color paints. Include the date and their age to create a treasure that you look forward to showing off every year.
- Make concrete stepping stones with your child’s footprint and the date. Let your child decorate and add the stones to your yard to create a wonderful memory garden.
- 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.
- Your teens and tweens will be happy with an evening bonfire to mourn the end of summer. Bring out the speakers and let them crank their music. Provide a fire, plenty of snacks and enough seating for everyone.
- Don’t forget a party for the moms. A first day of school potluck breakfast is a great opportunity for the moms to celebrate.
Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. This is her 21st new school year as a parent.