First Day of School!

Updated on February 04, 2011
S.M. asks from Omaha, NE
19 answers

I have a daughter who will be starting kindergarten and a son who will be starting preschool. I would really like to make their 1st day of school exciting and memorable for them. What traditions or special things do you do for your kids on the first day of school every year?

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J.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

Give them a 'first day of school' card (may want to practice reading it a few times so you can do it without sobbing...I didn't do so well) and have an extra awesome after school snack!

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K.T.

answers from Milwaukee on

we make a cake and have it for dinner after the first day of school. I decorrate it with the grade level they are in and of coarse we take lot of pics in the morning and then with the cake!!!

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M.C.

answers from Des Moines on

Like many others, I always take their picture on the front porch...ready to go.

This may sound silly...but the thing my children LOVE is that I buy them each their own frosted cookie for the first day of school. While they are at school, I go to our local grocery store (Hy-Vee) and buy a large sugar cookie for each of them that is decorated with frosting. (They are beautifully decorated to look like animals, etc.) They are on the kitchen table when they get home. (They each get their own 4" cookie.) It's funny how excited they are about this tradition. All year long, when we pass the bakery case, they look at the cookies and comment, "I wonder which one I'll get for the first day of school." When my oldest left for college last year, she asked if she still got a cookie.

When my kids were younger, the ones not in school used to help me pick out the cookies. Then, when the youngest started school, they kept hinting about the cookies...worried I'd forget since there weren't any kids left at home to remind me. (Our youngest is in 7th grade this year and yes, they have already mentioned the cookies and have started looking in the bakery case wondering which one they might get.)

Whatever you do....keep it simple. :) Your kids will remember the little things and it is much easier to continue to do something year after year if it doesn't cause a lot of stress. :)

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T.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

S., Well of course there is the standard "first day of school wearing the back-pack" photo by the front door and the "getting on the bus" photo. We also make a big deal of back to school shopping for school supplies.
When my oldest started kindergarten, he rode the bus, but I followed separately so I could watch him go in on his first day and I'm so glad I did. The teachers had a big "welcome" celebration with music dancing and streamers. It was very cute.
Enjoy!

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J.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.,

I love the start of school! (Maybe that's part of the reason I became a teacher awhile ago!)

Anyway, I love the ideas everyone keeps coming up with and I keep checking back to see the new ones.

One thing I wanted to caution you about is buying really special supplies to be used AT school. Some teachers (sometimes encouraged by the principal) take ALL of the supplies brought in and keep them to be used as community supplies through-out the year. Double check the supply list and see if it states whether or not the supplies will be used this way or call or email the school to be sure.

If they do this, you can still buy the "really cool" pencils, but keep them home to use for homework.

And speaking of homework, spend some time before school to set up a work station that is properly stocked with supplies. This too, will add to the excitement and encourage a smoother time ahead to work on homework--through-out the year.

And a big hug to you...because sending your first baby off to school will be hard!

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D.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughters haven't started school yet, but my former manager told me a tradition she has with her children. She will take a picture of them in front of their front door the first day of school. She said it is so fun to see how they look and have changed throughout the years. Her youngest is in high school now so they love to reminisce. I plan on doing the same tradition.

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K.K.

answers from Omaha on

My mom used to always line us up to take pictures, like everyone else. But the cool thing that we did was we always took a "shoe shot". One picture was always our new school shoes. We would all put in a foot into a half circle, and mom would snap a shot. It's hilarious looking at the shoes we had through the years. One pair of shoes my brother had literally lasted two days before they just fell apart, and we always talk about those shoes when we look at the first day of school pictures. It's always fun to look back and see some of your favorites, too ("OH! I remember those shoes! I loved those shoes!"). I'm the youngest of my family, and my older siblings always like to comment on how when I was the only one going to school, the shoes got more expensive, and they always had to have the "cheap" ones when they were in school.

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C.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

My son is starting kindergarten this year too. His first day is September 4th and it's only a half day that day. We'll probably go get ice cream that night to celebrate his first day.

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P.G.

answers from Sheboygan on

Hi S.,
I sent my oldest off to kindergarten last year. We took pictures with backpack at the front door and some at school while he was waiting in line to go in.
Let me tell you, sending him off to school was very difficult. My husband and I waited until he was safely inside school before crying. I cried the whole way home. So, just be prepared it's not as easy as it would seem. I must say though, it's very rewarding to help him with homework and watch all the changes.
God Bless and good luck!
P.

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S.G.

answers from Rapid City on

I always took my kids out one at a time to buy the school clothes and supplies. This gave us a one on one day and that is really needed when they are going to be gone so much of the day. We also always took a picture of them in their "special first day clothes" which is usually the favorite outfit we bought. Don't make a big deal when you drop them off. The longer the goodbye, the harder it is on your child.

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J.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter starts kindergarden this fall too. I haven't thought up any special traditions yet but I do plan on trying to get a picture of her each year on the 1st day of school so that I can make an album for when she graduates from High School.

I will be interested to see other people's suggestions too.

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T.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

We took a picture the first day of school (getting on and off the bus) and took a picture the last day of school (getting on and off the bus). It's amazing how much they change during the year! I let our daughter pick a fun after school snack too that day.

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G.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

We always go out for ice cream after the first day of school.

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L.T.

answers from Youngstown on

I like to take pictures and started them with a good breakfast and show them how exciteding school can be so that their not scared on their first day!

K.L.

answers from Milwaukee on

my son is going into 2nd grade....every year we take a picture on the first day of school in the same place. and i walk him to school and walk him with him.

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M.T.

answers from Davenport on

I think that whatever you decide, it's just about doing it every year. I LOVED the cookie idea!! I am a working Mom, but I ALWAYS take the 1st and last day of school off and take my son from and to school. Those days are usually only 1-2hrs, so we go to the local pool, or another fun activity (if it's raining) afterwards. Of course we always take pictures to - right out in front of the school sign with some of his best friends. Adorable!!

This year (last week) I was unable to do so because of a pregnancy complication - needing to be on bedrest for a week or so. I cried more about missing that tradition than I did the worry of my complication. Clayton cried a little too. But we made the best of it, and Grandma Sandi took the day off and tried to do her part. I'm still sad though - it's the 1st day ever that it wasn't me.

Anyway - one other thing we've done on some 1st or last days was go out for breakfast before hand. Like I said - I think the main thing with any tradition is making it your own, and being consistent. That's what they remember!

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B.1.

answers from Phoenix on

Cute his hair one day before and with your passion of an good mom, try to enter with first time once afternoon.

After tell-me?
Ok

B. vargas & andrea carla ianuch de vargas
brazil
oabpr22734
ordinary avvocates and lawyers of brazil member

gender since 1971

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J.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.,

Wow! What a milestone. I read the other responses and thought I may put my 2 cents in. Taking pictures is great. Having put 2 all the way thru and 2 more to go it's amazing how much they change. I am getting a little sad as one of my daughter's is going off to college in a couple of weeks.

Do you have a "Meet the Teacher Night" at school? Make sure you bring all the supplies you can with her then so her backpack will not be so heavy, their just so little to carry all the supplies. Is she at all apprehensive? if not, great, if so, tell her you will be a phone call away and you will be waiting for her when she comes home. Have you/she planned her outfit yet? Does she have a pocket that you could put a little something in so that when she puts her hand in it she will think of you? Has she met the teacher? Been in the school? If you bring her supplies, labeled with her name beforehand, she will see that her things are there and be more comfortable. Does she know anyone else that is going to school? Can you walk with her or is she taking the bus? Sometimes at "Meet the Teacher" the bus company comes and gives the "New Students" a ride. It's the only time parents can ride the bus! Lots of fun. Take pictures!

Sounds like you love being home and are a very caring Mom. We have a very special job. Remebering back, the other children were sad when their big bro/sis went off to school. I tried to have an age appropriate activity especially for them at home. Passed the time quickly, besides all the other things you have to do with your 3 yr old and new one.

If she is anything like mine, she will be FULL of chatter the first 10 minutes she comes home. You will really glean a lot if you are there to listen. I always stop working, no phone calls, no computer, cooking, etc. I have always felt this is one of the reasons I have been a WAHM for so many years.

Guess I can sum all my years up by this, have the Choc Chip cookies ready and sit down to hear about her exciting time!

Smiles,
J.

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K.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm a preschool teacher (who used to be a kindergarten teacher), and I think you don't need to do too much, as those days are already inherently exciting (and even sometimes scary). Make sure to take pictures out in front of your house with the kids wearing their backpacks (and keep doing it every first day of school). Some people have the kids hold a placard with the year on it, so you can tell easily when the picture was taken.

The only other thing I'd do would be to start a traditional first day of school meal -- either something special for breakfast (go out to breakfast, or have chocolate chip pancakes, or whatever) OR some kind of special dinner for the first day of school.

Remember that your children will be nervous, so don't try to do too much.

Next question: Ideas for Something Special for First Day of Kindergarten?