12 Fun Back-to-School Traditions to Start With Your Kids This Year


Friends, it’s time for the annual reality check: It’s August now, which means we’ve got just a few short weeks left before the kids head back to school. Many of us are probably breathing a sigh of relief — there’s just something about a set schedule that’s comforting and familiar, right? And while I do enjoy the familiarity of it all, part of me will always miss the freedom of summer and long days we’re leaving behind. Tell me you feel the same way!

I love the idea of establishing a few special back to school traditions to start things off on a positive note. After all, it can be kind of overwhelming and even scary to face the start of a brand new year! It definitely doesn’t hurt to help give your kids a little extra encouragement in the form of a special dinner or sweet note in their lunch, anything to give them a boost. I’ve rounded up a few fantastic links and ideas in the gallery below to help get you started — that is, if you don’t have your own already. If you do, please share. I’d love to hear them!


  • Sweet Encouragement 1 of 12

    Sometimes a small treat with an encouraging note is more than enough to let your child know they are loved!

    Inspiration via Jaco'lyn Murphy

  • Back To School Portraits 2 of 12

    Take the traditional "back to school" portrait up a notch by pairing it with a list of likes and favorites. How fun to compare from year to year!

    Inspiration via Miss Zoot

  • Mom and Me Date 3 of 12

    I love this idea of taking each child on a special "Mom and Me" or "Dad and Me" date. Let them choose where and enjoy some one on one time with each other before the schedules, practices and homework kick in!

    Inspiration via More Than The Mulberries

  • Love Notes 4 of 12

    Even some of my older kids still tend to get nervous on their first day back, but it can be especially scary for the little ones heading off into the world. Love this idea of matching "tattoos" for Mom and child to give some courage throughout the day.

    Inspiration via Ramblings Of A Crazy Woman

  • Special Back to School Breakfast 5 of 12

    Send your kids off to school on their first day with the breakfast of their dreams! Cereal of choice, donuts, chocolate milk and juice. It's only once a year so...why not?!

    Inspiration via Erica's Bloggity Blog

  • Lunch Love Note 6 of 12

    My mom would do this on occasion and it always made me feel so special! The first day of school certainly calls for such sentiments. 

    Inspiration via Tip Junkie

  • Family Motto 7 of 12

    Selecting a mission statement or motto for the year is an interesting idea. Which words would you choose?

    Inspiration via Dandee Designs

  • Schultuete School Cones 8 of 12

    There's an old German tradition called Schultuete in which children heading back to school are given cones filled with trinkets, sweets, and back-to-school supplies. I found a cute tutorial on how to make your own version of this fun tradition.

    Click here for details from The Mother Huddle

  • Back to School Special Dinner 9 of 12

    Breakfast, lunch, or dinner — sharing a special meal together as family and perhaps incorporating some annual traditions is a wonderful thing to do. Consider establishing a family motto like we talked about earlier, or perhaps setting some goals for the year, discussing things to look forward to and other things of that sort. Stephanie Nielsen always does a fabulous job with back to school dinners for her children.

    See more details here on her blog The NieNie Dialogues

  • After School Water Fight 10 of 12

    How fun is this?! Surprise your kids by ambushing them at the bus stop (once safely off the bus, of course) with an impromptu water fight. I guarantee it will be a wonderful and fantastically fun end to a busy first day back. 

    Inspiration via How Does She

  • Yearly Time Capsule 11 of 12

    This is a fun idea! Gather together a few favorite items, recent photos, current likes, etc. and put them in a container to stash away until the next year when you pull them out to see how much everything's changed. A time capsule, of course!

    Inspiration via Inhabitots

  • Family Movie Night 12 of 12
    backyard movie night

    More than anything, I think it's important to just have an activity or evening set aside to spend time with one another before the hustle and bustle of the school year arrives and everyone is pulled their separate ways. A family backyard movie night before school starts is a great idea, and sure to become a favorite tradition.

    See some good tips here at Oh Happy Day


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