Back to School Traditions: Making School Time Extra Special

The end of summer brings a mix of excitement and first-day jitters as we prepare for the start of a new school year. Over the years, I’ve found that creating back-to-school traditions is a perfect way to make this time of year extra special for the whole family. From school shopping to first day of school photos, here are some of our favorite ideas to celebrate the new school season.

Back to School Shopping

School shopping is a big deal in our house! We start with a list of school supplies and turn it into a fun way to spend time together. Shopping for new backpacks, school uniforms, and school clothes is always a highlight.

My girls love picking out their first day of school outfit and new water bottles. To make it even more special, we have a scavenger hunt in the store to find all the items on our list. This simple tradition makes school shopping a memorable event each year.

Here are a few tips to make your school shopping experience even better:

Start Early

Avoid the last-minute rush by starting your shopping early. This gives you time to find the best deals and ensures you get everything on your list.

Set a Budget

School supplies can add up quickly. Setting a budget helps keep spending in check. Make it a game to see how much you can save while still getting everything you need.

Get Organized

Use a checklist to keep track of what you need. Divide the list by category (e.g., clothing, supplies, lunchbox items) to make shopping more efficient.

Let Kids Choose

Allowing kids to pick out their supplies and clothes makes them feel involved and excited about the new school year. It’s a great way to build anticipation and reduce any first-day jitters.

Look for Sales

Keep an eye out for back-to-school sales and discounts. Many stores offer significant savings on school supplies and clothes during this time of year.

Personalize Supplies

Personalizing school supplies with your child’s name or favorite characters can make them more excited to use them. Stickers, labels, and even a little DIY crafting can make supplies unique.

Plan a Special Treat

End your shopping trip with a special treat, like ice cream or a favorite snack. It’s a fun way to wrap up the day and reward the kids for their help.

Reuse and Recycle

Before buying new items, check what you already have from the previous year. Reusing items is a great way to save money and teach kids about sustainability.

Shop Online

If the stores are too crowded or you can’t find what you need, shopping online can be a great alternative. Many online retailers offer a wide range of school supplies and clothing with the convenience of home delivery.

Make It Fun

Turn shopping into a game with a scavenger hunt. Create a list of items and let your kids race to find them in the store. It keeps them engaged and makes the experience enjoyable for everyone.

School shopping can be more than just a task to check off your list. With these tips, it becomes a fun and memorable tradition that sets the tone for a great school year. Happy shopping!

The Night Before School

The night before school starts, we have a special dinner with the whole family. It’s a great way to talk about the upcoming year and calm any first-day jitters. Each of my girls gets to choose their favorite foods, making dinner a fun and comforting event.

After dinner, we pack up the new school supplies and lay out our first day of school outfits. This simple preparation helps everyone feel ready and excited for the next day.

We end the evening with a story time, reading our favorite back-to-school books. This tradition not only calms nerves but also gets everyone excited for the new school season. Here are a few of our favorite story selections for kids:

“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn

This heartwarming story about a raccoon named Chester who is nervous about starting school has been a favorite in our house for years. Chester’s mother teaches him a special way to carry her love with him, which helps soothe his first-day jitters.

Find it on Amazon:

“First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg

This book perfectly captures the anxiety of starting something new. The twist at the end always makes my girls giggle and helps them feel more at ease about their own first day.

Find it on Amazon:

“Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes” by James Dean

Pete the Cat’s adventures in his new school shoes are both entertaining and reassuring. This book’s catchy song and positive message make it a hit with my kids.

Find it on Amazon:

“The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!” by Mo Willems

Mo Willems’ humorous approach to school anxiety is a favorite in our house. The Pigeon’s funny objections and eventual acceptance make this a relatable and enjoyable read.

Find it on Amazon:

“Llama Llama Misses Mama” by Anna Dewdney

This sweet story about Llama Llama feeling nervous at school but eventually enjoying his day is perfect for little ones. The rhythmic text and comforting theme help ease separation anxiety.

Find it on Amazon:

These stories set a positive tone for the start of school, making the night before a time of bonding and reassurance. We cuddle up together, often with a cozy blanket and some hot cocoa, and enjoy our story time. This routine has become a cherished part of our back-to-school traditions, one that my girls look forward to every year.

Creating a calm and enjoyable evening before the first day of school helps to ease any anxieties and ensures everyone goes to bed with a smile. It’s a special way to wrap up the end of summer and welcome the new school year with open arms.

The First Day of School

The first day of school is always a big deal in our house! We start the morning with a special breakfast. Pancakes with chocolate chips and sprinkles are a favorite. The girls love helping me in the kitchen, and it’s a fun way to start the day on a positive note. We chat about their new teachers, new friends, and what they’re most excited about for the new school year.

After breakfast, we have a mini photo session by the front door. Taking first day of school photos with fun signs has become one of my favorite traditions. Each year, I make new signs that include their grade level and the date. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve grown from one year to the next. The girls love looking back at these photos and reminiscing about their first days in previous years.

Free First Day of School Printable

To make your first day of school photos extra special, I’ve created a set of free printable signs that you can download. These signs are a perfect way to capture the start of a new school year. Check out my free first day of school printable signs and make your photo session memorable!

Before we head out the door, I sneak a sweet note into each child’s lunchbox. It’s a simple way to show them I’m thinking of them throughout the day. Sometimes it’s a little joke to make them smile, other times it’s a reminder of how proud I am of them. My girls always tell me that finding these notes is their favorite part of lunch.

These small gestures help set a positive tone for the day and ease any first-day jitters. Meeting new teachers and making new friends can be a bit overwhelming, but knowing that mom is thinking of them gives my girls a little extra boost of confidence.

Creating these first day of school traditions has made the start of the school year something we all look forward to. From special breakfasts to sweet lunchbox notes and fun photo sessions, these traditions help make school time exciting and memorable.

Don’t forget to download your free first day of school printable signs and make your own special memories! Here’s to a fantastic start of the school year filled with joy, growth, and new adventures.

After School Traditions

After a long day at school, it’s important to unwind and celebrate the new school season. We kick off our after-school time with a special snack. Ice cream is always a winner, especially when the girls can pick their own toppings. Some days, we make a fun school snack mix with pretzels, chocolate chips, dried fruit, and mini marshmallows. It’s a perfect way to sit down together and hear all about their day.

Once everyone has had their fill of snacks, we dive into our time capsule tradition. Each girl writes down her favorite memory from the first day of school. Sometimes they draw a picture, other times they write a few sentences. We fold these little notes and place them in our special time capsule jar. It’s so much fun to open the jar on the last day of school and read all the memories from the year.

Creating a Time Capsule

This time capsule tradition is a great way to capture the excitement and feelings from the first day. It also gives us something to look forward to at the end of the year. The girls love seeing how their thoughts and interests have changed over the months. It’s a simple yet meaningful tradition that adds a touch of magic to the school year.

After our time capsule activity, we often spend some quiet time together. This might include reading a book, doing a simple craft, or just talking about their new teachers and friends. It’s a special way to reconnect and transition from school time to family time.

Having these after-school traditions helps the girls decompress and feel celebrated after their big day. It also strengthens our family bond and creates lasting memories. Whether it’s enjoying a favorite snack, writing down a special memory, or just spending time together, these traditions make the school year even more special.

I hope these ideas inspire you to create your own after-school traditions. They’re a wonderful way to make the school year fun and memorable for the whole family. Here’s to celebrating every moment and making this school year the best one yet!

Back to School Traditions: Making School Time Extra Special

Creating back-to-school traditions has been a great way to make the start of a new school year something to look forward to. Whether it’s through school shopping, special breakfasts, or capturing first day of school photos, these traditions help us embrace the new schedules and celebrate the beginning of another exciting school year. I hope these ideas inspire you to create your own sweet traditions and make this school time the best yet!


  • Kayla Peloquin

    Kayla Peloquin is the creator and writer of, a blog dedicated to making childhood magical with creative ideas, printables, and practical advice. As a busy mom of four girls, Kayla shares her love for party planning, Disney, and all things sparkly. Her blog offers inspiration and tips to help families celebrate everyday moments and special occasions with a touch of magic.

    View all posts

Similar Posts