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First Day of School Traditions

Whose child is going back to school this week?? 🙋🏻‍♀️

I am already one of those sentimental moms who documents everything, but the first day of school holds a special place in my heart. It hits me with a roller coaster of emotions from the sadness of realizing how fast my child is growing up to the excitement of anticipating all the new things they will be learning. There are MANY great ideas out there, and after scouring Pinterest for the past few years, I have found my four go-to activities for memorializing this special moment. I chose simple activities that require minimal effort because I plan to do them every year. I am a sucker for those time lapse videos where you see the child grow before your eyes and hope to create those kinds of videos and memory books as my children get older. I also appreciate being able to reuse my purchases and having everything on hand without worrying about needing to buy more things or researching new ideas. These activities are also varied enough to make me feel like I’ve captured these memories in thoughtful ways and will be fine if I never go down the Pinterest wormhole of researching First Day of School ideas again. I now present to you how we celebrate my children’s first day of school!

* Please note this post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you purchase through these links. I only link to products I've used or think will be a helpful resource to you. Thank you for your support.

#1 Reusable Milestone Chalkboard

I purchased this Back to School chalkboard from Etsy . What I love about this particular one is that the back also has something written out for the last day of school, so it makes for a nice side by side picture at the end of the school year. I opted not to get one that includes the child’s favorite things and stats because I have a Birthday Milestone Chalkboard that includes that information. I like that this keeps things nice and simple without being redundant. I recently purchased another one from the same vendor for my son to maintain the same aesthetic, but I have seen other affordable chalkboard options on Amazon, Target, and Michaels. You can also find editable, printable ones on the Internet like this one.

#2 Adult “Class Of” Shirt

I think this is so adorable. Definitely triple checked my math to make sure I got the graduation year correct. The idea is to buy an adult size shirt with your child’s graduation year. Take a picture of them wearing the shirt every year until their senior year, when it will hopefully fit just right. This is another one with a lot of different options. I got this one from Amazon for my daughter, and this one for my son. ​

#3 First Day of School Interview

There are different ways to do this one. I created an Interview sheet with questions specifically for the First Day of School. I left off some typical questions like favorite and least favorite subject because I use those questions in my Last Day of School Interview. I was inspired by this touching video a father made of his daughter, so the original idea was to just record the responses on video. However, after thinking about it some more, I thought it would be fun to have a hard copy of the answers and put them in a memory book (I got this binder to store the print outs for the next 12 years). I really like the idea of documenting my child’s handwriting and drawing over the years too. Feel free to download a FREE copy of my printable and use whichever method works best for you. I am making copies of the same form for every year, so I can have a more direct comparison between the different grades.

#4 Handprint Keepsake

To create this memento, you need sturdy, decorative paper, so I used leftover scrapbook paper. After you trace and cut out your child’s handprint, have them write their name, age, and grade on the plain (not decorated) side. What you do on the other side is up to you. I decided to paste an inspirational quote. Then I laminate it, hole punch the bottom, and place it on a key ring or binder ring. Add another handprint to the ring each year, and over time, you will see your collection of tiny hands grow into bigger ones. Download a copy of the instructions and some inspirational quotes that I found here.

There you have it! My four annual traditions to commemorate the first day of school for my little ones! One question some people ask is “What if I forget and don’t do these activities on the first day of school?” No biggie, do it as soon as you can. Fudge the date if you want that to be correct. This is about making more memories, not about making more stress. I hope this post gave you some ideas for things to do with your littles. If you use any of these ideas, please tag me at @ErinTriesParenting on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to see your back to school shout outs! The world is a mess right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t maintain some consistency and have celebrations. I sincerely wish you and your family the best of luck in navigating the new school year!

First Day of School Interview Questions
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First Day of School Handprint Keepsake P
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Hi! I'm Erin

This blog is a digital scrapbook of my adventures in modern parenting. I am a mother of two and former teacher sharing my  favorite resources and lessons learned because I believe parenting is easier with a village, and no one has time to reinvent the wheel.  

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