Pack an Extra Special Lunch

Most of us will never be Pinterest stars who craft the Mona Lisa out of bologna and pack it in our child’s lunch box, but the first day of school may be the one time all year where we can justify going all-out. Jenny at Bloom Designs has a free collection of adorable apple-themed printables, including fun labels and tags and a coupon for after-school ice cream. Tuck in a sweet note and your kiddo will feel super-loved at lunchtime.

Take a Portrait with a Chalkboard Speech Bubble

First-day-of-school pictures are a must, of course, but why not use the shots to capture more than just your student’s smiling face and outfit? Shannah at Just Us Four painted a speech bubble-shaped piece of MDF with chalkboard paint and used chalk-ink markers to write in the categories of her daughter’s “likes” that she wanted to record. The speech bubble can be filled out again and again with each new grade.

Arrange a Visit from the Backpack Fairy

Like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, the Backpack Fairy does her best work in the cover of darkness. Just have your child leave his or her backpack out the night before the first day of school, and by morning it will be full of some special gifts. Brooke at Blissful Roots says the fairy can leave new school or art supplies, a new lunch box, a new book or shirt, or maybe even a cool new backpack decoration.

Write Sidewalk Chalk Messages

The walk to school (or the bus stop or even just down the driveway to the carpool) will be so much more exciting if your child and her friends discover encouraging messages written on the sidewalk along the way. Patience of Kindness Girl suggests grabbing some bright sidewalk chalk with family, friends, and neighbors and heading out the night before school starts to leave the positive messages. You could do it as a surprise for your children, or take your kids out with you to join in the fun leaving messages for their schoolmates.

Organize a Bus Stop Brunch

Whether watching your child wave from the bus window makes you a little teary or you’re thrilled to have the blissful school hours to yourself after a long summer, getting kids on the school bus on the first day is a momentous occasion. Anna of My Life and Kids set up a small table at the bus stop with some iced coffee and yummy muffins to celebrate the moment with her neighborhood moms. If you’re feeling very confident in your morning routine, you could even invite the other families to meet there 15 minutes early so the kids can enjoy a muffin, too.

Conduct a Back-to-School Interview

If you’d like to create a fun keepsake that also inspires a sweet conversation with your child, conduct a back-to-school interview like Carolyn of The Pleasantest Thing. Print out the form the night before school, and have your child fill it out to capture his handwriting — then read the finished interview together so you can ask him follow-up questions. Or, conduct it yourself over his first-day-of-school breakfast to ensure you get a few minutes to connect before he heads out for the long day.

Decorate His Door While He Sleeps

Entering a new grade can feel like as big of a deal as a football player entering the field on a big game day. Get inspired by Theresa at Coffee Beans and Kisses and be your kid’s school-day cheerleader by decorating his door with streamers and balloons while he’s sleeping. When he wakes up, he’ll feel like the big man on campus. You could even string the streamers across the door so he has to “burst” through like football players running through a banner onto the field.

Wear Matching Parent-Child Bracelets

If your child is nervous about being away from you for a long school day, you can ease her jitters by reminding her you’re always thinking about her. Shannon of Fairfield County Moms Blog made a set of mother-daughter bracelets when her daughter was anxious about starting kindergarten, attaching a sweet poem she found on Pinterest. Dads and boys can wear bracelets, too, so customize a set however works for your family.