Back to school can be downright scary and stressful for some kids, especially for those entering kindergarten or starting over at a new school after a move. Turn back to school into a day of happiness and excitement for the academic year to come by creating a special family back-to-school tradition. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Prep a Back-to-School Breakfast Feast
What are your kids’ absolute, all-time favorite things to eat for breakfast? Prep a breakfast buffet feast so your child knows that every school year starts off with a few of her favorite things. Whip up some easy cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip pancakes, a savory ham and cheese breakfast casserole, an assortment of favorite cereals, and strawberry smoothies. Invite a few neighbor school friends over for your new family tradition and make it a back-to-school breakfast banquet.

Pack a “Schultüte” (that’s German for “school cone”)
In Germany, parents give their children a “Schultüte,” or school cone. This giant cardboard ice cream cone is filled with back-to-school goodies. To make your own, roll and staple a large, colorful poster board into a cone shape. Decorate with stickers or markers and fill with funky pens, erasers, bright Post-it notes, highlighters, a new pair of socks and a healthy treat or two. Even high schoolers will appreciate this token of good luck for the upcoming year.

Back-to-School Eve Ice Cream Social
‘Twas the night before back to school . . . and everyone enjoyed a festive ice cream social! Start a new back-to-school tradition and invite a few classmates for the upcoming year over for an end-of-summer ice cream social. Take a moment and ask everyone to share the top highlight of their summer vacation, a goal for the new school year, and something they’re looking forward to in their classroom.

Back-to-School Recap Picnic
Take advantage of the still-summery weather and head to a local park for a picnic dinner after the first day of school. Reconnect and recap the highlights of the day. Ask open-ended questions: What is the name of one new person you met today? What class/subject do you think will be the most interesting this new school year? If you can’t be bothered with packing a picnic dinner after a busy back-to-school day, order a pizza, grab a blanket and some drinks, and head to a park for a back-to-school pizza picnic. 

Turn Wake Up Time into a Celebration
Start your first day of school off right with balloons and streamers. Sneak a bunch of balloons into your child’s bedroom before she wakes up and decorate your front door with rows of colorful streamers so she’ll have no choice but to make a grand exit as she leaves for this first day of school.