It’s September, so it’s Back to School time. You may be tempted to throw a party that involves martinis and a binge showing of “Narcos,” but an event aimed at the younger set can be fun and also therapeutic for your kids. It’s a great way for them to connect with old friends, getting them excited for the new school year. It can also be a good way for a new class to start gelling – both parents and students. School already started? This is always a great way to really jump start the new school year!
Some people like to throw a party before the school year starts so they can ease their students’ First Day anxiety. A great way to help students reconnect and also help their parents fill lunch boxes all year is to throw a School Lunch party. We all know how difficult it is to come up with good lunch ideas that your child will actually eat. Invite your student’s gang and their parents over for a brunch potluck. As their contribution, ask each family to bring some of their favorite school year quick breakfasts or lunchbox food, along with copies of the recipe (or packaging, if it is store-bought). The kids can get reacquainted while parents swap war stories from their lunchbox diaries.
Food for All
Another good pre-school celebration is to gather all the kids in the neighborhood for a Last Day of Summer breakfast. Plan it for your school’s start time to help kids turn their sleep clocks back for school hours. Have the party outside in your driveway or at the bus stop and invite everyone to come in their pajamas. Since it will be early in the morning, make it easy by serving foods that you can make ahead, like muffins, bagels, fruit salad, and punch.
If you didn’t get it together to host a party before school started, it’s not too late! Many families prefer to have a get-to-know-you party in September or October so they can invite the whole class. A potluck picnic at a nearby park or even the schoolyard means that you don’t have to clean your house and the kids will have plenty of space to run around and entertain themselves. Kids are often excited if a potluck is “international” and families bring a dish from their culture or country of origin.
Ice Cream Socials
Even easier to host is an Ice Cream Social. It is short, sweet, and everyone looks forward to it. Host an Ice Cream Social to mark the end of the first day, the first week, Labor Day, or really anytime. All you have to do is provide lots of vanilla and chocolate ice cream and some ice cream scoops. Your guests bring their favorite ice cream topping to share. Some good suggestions are chopped fruit, crushed candies or cookies, sprinkles, nuts, or everyone’s favorite: hot fudge or caramel sauce.
If the idea of hosting a big shindig at this busy time of year is overwhelming, there are also lots of ways you can mark the milestone just with your family. A quiet dinner by candlelight can be soothing for your child’s frayed nerves. You and your child can snuggle together and look over last year’s artwork and projects that you just discovered in his or her backpack as you were getting it ready for the new year.
School Year’s Eve
Alternatively, if your child is just plain bummed about going back to school, they may need an injection of enthusiasm. Have a family School Year’s Eve party the night before school starts. Make a sign that reads, “Happy School Year’s Eve!,” wear party hats that have each child’s new grade on them, and blow party noisemakers. I promise you that a yearly family tradition of a School Year’s Eve party will give your child something to look forward to and soften the blow of going back to school.