Back to School Traditions

Somehow, the first night all my children slept in their beds since June 20 was tonight (August 30) - and it's the night before school starts. They had busy, wonderful summers visiting family back east, attending sleepaway camp and spending time with family out west - no complaints. But no time to really transition into a school mindset.

Time constraints forced me to focus - to identify the most important back to school activities:

  • Clothing that fits and is suitable for something other than rags. 
  • School supplies 
  • Dentist, orthodontist - check and check.
  • Haircuts...not crucial.  Not done. 
  • Buy books for summer reading - did this in June. Whew.

My time jam also put the sleep routine at risk. Luckily, our children have a pavlovian response to their own bedrooms - or to the exhaustion of their summer - bedtime was on track, without resistance and should lead to a solid 11+ hours of rest before school starts tomorrow.

Beyond the practical, I fantasize about having back-to-school traditions. Thus far, the tradition is taking a day off from work and spending it with my school-age children doing something. Mini-golf is popular. So is bike riding. And lunch. And I fantasize that this experience opens meaningful discussions about goals and concerns for the upcoming school year.  Realistically, it reinforces that I am a better Mom when I work and spend evenings with my children because my patience for sibling rivalry and bickering is, well, not great. 

Most of the families I know from other schools have already started - we start tomorrow. The kids are excited and the parents look estatic. Our big family tradition is to take a picture outside our house before school on that first day. It's not time consuming and it's never particularly calm, but I do enjoy seeing them over the years.

What's your back-to-school routine and tradition?  Is it for you or your kids?