I love my annual family rituals: Everyone decorates the tree at Christmas, the kids make the front of the house look as scary as they can tolerate it each Halloween, and we pick apples every fall.
Now that it’s September, I’m prepping for another set of rituals — the ones that come with the first day of school. Since my daughter’s junior kindergarten year, we’ve celebrated the start of the new school year. We start with a lovely new outfit, of course, which I used to pick out; now she prefers to select it on her own. We snap a picture of her with her new gear on at home, and then later get a shot in the schoolyard.
But my favourite back-to-school tradition is one I stole from my sister-in-law — pancakes on the first day. But not just any pancakes — I fill a Ziploc bag with batter and cut off the tip to make pancakes in the shape of the grade she’s going into. JK for junior kindergarten, SK for senior kindergarten and so forth. (Even though my son isn’t in school yet, he gets pancakes with his daycare room’s number on it so he’s adopted early into this yummy routine.) It’s a little thing, and I’m not sure if I do it more for her or myself. But it’s our thing and I’ll do it for as long and she, and later her brother, will let me.
I was curious to find out what other moms do for the first day of school, or even during the Labour Day weekend before, so I asked some friends how they mark the start of a new academic year.
“We always have a family day on the Monday before school. It’s quiet — we stay and play around the house, pack our new school bags and get them ready at the door. And then we end the evening with a relaxing movie or game, something of the kid’s choice.” — Pepper Ventresca
“I write my two children a letter that I give them at breakfast. The letter talks about how they might be feeling (nervous, excited) and how nice it will be to see their friends, meet their teacher and find out what their classroom will look like. I usually print the letters on fancy paper — my mom used to do this for me. I was always a wreck on the first day of school and I think she wrote them to calm my nerves. I still have letters she wrote me in grades one and two.” — Alyson Bethley
“Usually on the first day of school, my hubby stays home and we both walk the kids to school and pick up. I take a picture if I can find the camera and memory stick and the camera is charged!” — Dana Dougherty Reinke
“We go to the school on the Friday before school starts to check the lists to see who their teachers are. Then on the first day of school, I make pancakes and take their pictures standing at the front door with their backpacks.” — Shannon Carroll-Wiedener
What is your first day of school ritual?
Want more happiness news? Follow me on Twitter @AstridVanDenB