What are your family’s favorite back-to-school traditions?
Growing up, my family had a “tradition” for everything. For New Year’s Eve, as a pastor’s family, we all gathered in a circle at midnight to “pray in” the new year. In February, my dad bought my sister’s and I valentine’s candy or bears. On Saturday before Easter, we boiled and dyed eggs for the next day’s egg hunt. For the 4th of July, we all wore matching Old Navy flag shirts, and for Christmas, my mom made popcorn from scratch and we strung it together with a needle and thread to wrap around our Christmas tree.
Most of these traditions happened because of my mom’s “gentle encouragement” (or insistence), but they nonetheless burned into our hearts memories that my siblings and I still carry with us to this day.
Why Traditions are Important
From the moment we are born, we crave connection and community. It’s part of what makes us human. Traditions help us make and keep those connections. As Donna Rockwell, Psy.D wrote in her article “The Importance of Tradition,” “They help us learn who we are, based on the innocent discoveries of where we came from.” They connect us to the relatives who came before us and give us a sense of comfort and belonging.
My Favorite Tradition
One of my favorite traditions growing up was taking one weekend to go “back-to-school” shopping. My family picked one weekend out of the month of August and my parents took all the kids school shopping at one time. We made a whole weekend of it. We bought clothes, shoes, and our entire supply list for that school year, on that one weekend. We usually stopped and had lunch or dinner out, and maybe a separate stop for dessert. We shopped, modeled clothes and shoes, and argued over who would get the one shirt we all had eyes on. Then we spent the evening at home opening up all of our new stuff, filling our backpacks, and taking in the smell of new crayons and spiral notebooks.
This year, even though she is only starting daycare, I took my own daughter “school-supply shopping.” We bought clothes, shoes, a new lunchbox and stopped to share french fries and chicken nuggets. Though she is too young to remember now, she will one day, and going with her brought back all the memories from my own childhood.
I still absolutely love the smell of new school supplies.
What Are Your “Back-to-School” Traditions?
There’s just something special about the new school season. Whether you are a daycare mom, homeschool, send your kiddos to public, charter, or private schools, the sentiment is the same. It’s not just a change in schedule but a change in season. It signals the “near” end of the long, (usually) hot, Texas summers and everyone is hopeful for a fresh start.
As the Earth drives us faster and faster towards the autumnal equinox and shorter, cooler days, the countdown to back to school begins. What are the traditions that signal this new season for your family and bring connection and comfort?
Do you print out signs for your kids to hold in their first-day pictures?
Does grandma or grandpa come along for the first-day drop-off?
Is there a first-day trip to Amy’s ice cream after school?
Do you wake up extra early to make a special breakfast?
Whatever it is, as this busy year begins, take some time to think about what back-to-school traditions you have or can create to make this a special time for your family. What memories do you want your kids to hold or pass down to their own children? If you already have some great ones to share, let us know in the comments! Maybe there are a few we can add to our own family’s list.