After a much-needed summer break, children across the UK are finally preparing to return to school in September.
This year's school start is even more poignant than usual, due to the anxieties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic – parent and child emotions are sky-high with a mix of nerves, excitement and relief.
One way of making your child's transition from home-to-school run smoothly is by starting some fun back to school traditions to make the day extra special. Try out some of the ideas below…
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Make a memorable breakfast
OK, come back to school morning, most of us are probably running around like headless chickens, shocked at the early start and trying to find shoes and bags. But why not get up a little earlier and treat your kids to a special breakfast to make the day start with a bang?
Cook their favourite like pancakes or arrange fruit pieces into funny faces in their cereal – it will become a sweet yearly tradition.
Make 'that photo' fun
Who's guilty of making their kids pose for a 'first day at school' photo and then no one wants to smile? So take the pressure off and make the moment fun.
Ask the cherubs to jump in the air or throw their bag up high, or maybe do the silliest faces they can. You never know, when they relax, you might just get a cute, smiley snap!
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Give a new 'good luck' keyring every year
Aw, we love this idea. Children love keyrings and receiving a surprise new one to accessorise their backpack with will go down super well. How about wrapping it up and putting it in their shoe to find before leaving the house?
Melissa & Doug Key Chain Scratch Art Pack, £4.99, Amazon
Create a message jar
Such a cute idea! Get a large jar and write loads of positive, inspirational messages for your children on different coloured paper, then fold each piece and pop in the jar. Keep it in the hallway and just before they leave for school, ask them to take a note. Do this on day one, week one, or all year round!
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Put a note in their lunch box
My parents used to do this for me and I loved it. Come midday on day one, your child may be feeling a little homesick so finding a loving message from mum and dad amongst their sandwiches will surely put a smile on their face. If your child likes a laugh, you could write a joke on the note instead.
Summer holiday scrapbook
A lovely memento of the holidays is to create a good old fashioned scrapbook with your children. Print out a load of photos, gather up any tickets, postcards, leaflets – or even shells from the beach - and give the kids an art project for the last day of summer.
Jumbo Coloured Scrapbook, £5.99, Amazon
Good luck chalk messages
Surprise your kids with some confidence-boosting messages written in chalk on your front path or driveway. Write words of encouragement like ' Good luck on your first day', 'Have the best time at school' or 'You got this!" – they'll love it.
Then, for their return, wash it off and write new messages such as, "Well done for your first day back" and "Welcome home, time to chill."
Set some school year goals
We love the idea of getting everyone in a positive mindset before school starts. How about asking each child to set themselves three goals for the year – it could be anything from 'make some new friends' to 'try a new sport'.
Take a photo of their shoes and bags
This may sound a little odd, but it's a nice way to remember your children's school years and see how they grew in both shoe size and fashion tastes.
Line up the bags and shoes altogether for an arty snap; they can even photobomb and stick their faces in the side of the shot if they fancy!
Celebrate with a special dinner
The first day of school is unnerving for most children, so why not make it a happy memory by planning a special celebratory dinner for when they come home?
Whether that means cooking their favourite dinner or taking them out for a post-school treat (ice cream, anyone?), turn the nerves into a positive experience and a way to get the conversation flowing.
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