School. Who knew one word could conjure up so many emotions and debates. If we thought the return to the classroom felt divided in the past, then welcome to September 2020. No matter which side of the fence(s) you sit on, one thing's for sure, there's nothing normal about any back to school decisions. In our households, we're working on ways to mitigate eavesdropping from little ears, knowing that every "right" choice one moment can suddenly feel like the worst the next. Parents across the country are echoing similar reservations about the upcoming school year, which has garnered its fair share of opinions. But regardless of which learning environment you’ve chosen, we feel VERY strongly that as parents and caregivers, we need to make the transition a positive one.
Pre-COVID, otherwise known as A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, it was commonplace to have an end-of-summer bash that welcomed in the new school year (and cozy fall sweaters!). Of course those celebrations should continue, but it doesn't have the same aura this year, does it? As with everything else in this pandemic, the end of summer marks the beginning of so many unknowns and internal worries on whether we as parents/caregivers are making the "right" decision about school. So all this thinking (and overthinking) got us wondering how we could make it a little easier on our kids - and by now, if you've read any of our other posts, you'll know the answer is always - #partytime.
Obviously parties will not solve everything, but they can make us feel better! Parties are huge mood boosters! How many times have you gotten together with friends and family and felt better afterwards? Parties build memories and help us collectively celebrate. This is why a "back to school party" is one small way to get our kids excited for this milestone of a day (technically a century because it was like 1920 when this happened last...). So walk away from those Facebook comment wars and check out what we'd suggest you do to get back into the school spirit.
A back to school party is a fun way to get the kids ready and excited for the upcoming school year – a feat we feel is especially important this year. Whether the party is moving from the kitchen table to the... well kitchen table or to the school yard, start your day off with an over-the-top breakfast to get your kids jazzed up for what's to come!
Keeping with the tradition of hectic breakfasts, messy kitchens and rushed exits (I mean HOW many times can we say “put your shoes on!!”), we thought a back to school breakfast party would be a perfect send off on their first day of school. To pull in the "fun & happy" vibe we were going for, we opted for bright decor and used an array of our paper party fans to achieve just that. Add in a few pieces of colourful construction paper as place mats and you have yourself a simple and joyful setting to get the kids pumped for another school year. A few ways to make the breakfast extra special is to serve up some fun and unique food – think colourful scrambled eggs, toast turned into cute animals, or pancakes topped with smiley faces. To switch things up, made rainbow pancakes (best served on our rainbow party plates) which gave the kids a good thrill! We used food colouring to dye 4 separate batches of pancake mix. We then cooked the pancakes and served them up hot. Throwing caution to the wind and to everyone’s excitement, we let the kids pour whipped cream and sprinkles on top as well as maple syrup. We arranged different coloured fruit on a platter to make a rainbow and served it in our adorable 'Yay' cups.
If you're comfortable, invite the close friends/family that you're bubbling with to join in on the celebration. Or to avoid any added chaos and mess, organize a quick FaceTime or pre-recorded video for some virtual good luck messages to really fill up their emotional buckets!
Full hearts and bellies are the perfect setting to have a quick check-in chat to hear about their first day of school jitters. Your average first day of school is loaded with fresh experiences and chock-full of excitement; and this year it will be anything but average. Focus on their feelings and have an open conversation to let them know that it’s natural to feel anxious, while reminding them about the positives. Keep in mind that this little pep talk may be just the thing you both need to get out the door.
Finally, grab those party fans again and hang them for the perfect backdrop for the obligatory first day of school photo. The day where a sea of other back to school photos will flood across your Instagram and Facebook! Mark this momentous day with their school signs stating their future ambitions, favourite things, and whatever other tidbit of information you want to record – without revealing too much personal information, because #internetdanger is real!
Ultimately, we really just want to make this September 8th extra special because we all know sending our kids off to a virtual classroom or a socially distanced class - donned in face masks and stocked with hand sanitizer - is anything but normal. Kids can easily pick-up on our anxiety, so if you’re feeling anxious (like we are!), try your best to hide negative feelings and be as positive as possible.
So, as we all venture into this unknown and slightly (ahem - VERY) scary new school routine - grab your party plates and decorations, greet sleepy eyes with wide confident smiles and remember: You've Got This! To ease your party planning worries, we've created two fun back to school party boxes to help you out!
- Chelsea & Karin