- Pick out a new lunch box – My boys hate shopping for new clothes, but they love picking out a new lunch box for the school year. I enjoy taking pictures of them on the first day of school with their new lunch boxes – and then compare to previous years to see how much they’ve grown and how their tastes in cartoon characters have changed. My boys have moved on from Thomas the Tank Engine to Lego Ninjago.
- Buy back-to-school supplies – Who doesn’t remember walking through the store and picking out pencils and paper from the school supply list? I have vivid memories of it. My boys go to a Montessori school so we don’t need to buy school supplies, but I still like to take them to get it just to get them ready for the new school year. We stock up on pencils, crayons, glue and other stationary items for our own use.
- Get back-to-school shoes – I use the whole summer to find at least two pairs of shoes for each kid. I look for deals at Nordstrom or Stride Rite (who often has buy one, get one half-off deals) and buy one size that fits now and a half a size up for a few months later. Then I talk about how big they’re getting – going to a new grade and getting new shoes.
- Get a new haircut or hair style - Just like buying new shoes, getting a new haircut for the new school year is just another way of marking a new time for kids. I usually take my kids to get a haircut once every three months or so, and time their haircut for at least two weeks before school starts to give their hair some time to adjust. This is perfect if your school starts yearbook or school portraits at the beginning of the school year.
- Getaway – Plan a weekend getaway with the family as a last hoorah to summer. It could be anything from a staycation at a local hotel to camping in the backyard in a tent. It’s just a way to send off the summer and get ready for a new school year.
- Read books about going to school - For younger kids going to preschool or kindergarten, pick out books about the first day of school. It’s natural for kids to have fears about going to school so reading can help to manage their expectations. Older kids can read about going to junior high or high school on their own, or share you own experiences about going to a new school.
- Going to a new school? Go for a visit off hours – Drive by and visit the school when it’s closed to get kids used to the new environment. Explain where drop-off and pick-up will, where the lunch tables are located, and how to get to the school office.
What are your favorite ways to get kids in back-to-school mode?