This is How We Do Back-to-School

I have always loved back to school time, as a teacher and now as a parent! A new package of sharpened crayons or pencils is my happy place. However, this year we are navigating back to school in a much different way.  This is my first year having two kids in year-round school and one on a traditional calendar. It has definitely been an adjustment. Honestly, it feels a little funny to have back to school vibes in the middle of summer, and for just part of our family but not everyone. However, I’m looking at the bright side, because I LOVE BACK TO SCHOOL. So I’m thinking this just means I get to do it twice this year. To get you in the mood,  I asked a few super moms I know what their back to school advice is and what their favorite back to school rituals look like. Here are their stories. 

Stacy Brown – blogger and mom of 3

Back to school is the most exciting, busy, and emotional time of the year as our little ones are crossing yet another milestone that puts them closer to growing up! As a working mom of 3, preparation is key to making sure our back to school starts with as little hiccups and stress as possible! 

Here are my top 3 things we do to prepare before school starts:

  • Take inventory of supplies left over from the previous school year & clothes that still will work for the new school year. This helps to understand what we actually need to shop for.   

Shop Back to School by grade

Back to school deals

  • Organize and clean the kids rooms & homework space: This helps create a fresh and clean space for the new year & learning.
  • Set Intentions for the year: We like to discuss what we hope to learn for the year and what new chores or responsibilities we’ll explore. 

Now the first day of school is our favorite. Here are 4 things we do on the first day!

  1. Prepare  a special breakfast. 
  2. Write a letter to pack in their lunch: I love to write an encouraging letter that wishes them all the best on their school year. 
  3. Taking first-day-of-school photos are a must!
  4. Discuss the daily routine:  This can include what they need to do when they get home, time set aside for educational tasks, and designated times for extracurricular activities. Having a routine helps bring structure and stability to the school year.

I hope these tips were helpful and wishing you little ones the best school year yet! 


Stacy Brown

Stacy is the author of Every Day Stacy, a blog where she shares all things motherhood, lifestyle, and career. You can keep up with her on Instagram @everydaystacy for all the day to day craziness and fun of Mommyhood! 💕


Andrea Burston – school counselor extraordinaire and new mom

The sights and sounds of back to school (BTS) are in the air!  The start of a new school year can bring a mix of emotions ranging from excitement to nervousness for both children and adults. Incorporating BTS family rituals may help to ease some of the worries and increase the excitement for the new year ahead.  Here are some BTS ritual ideas to consider:

BTS Books and Pajamas- Since you are already on the hunt for school supplies, add a pair of new (school themed) pajamas on your list!  Check your local library or bookstore (online or in person) and check out BTS themed books. There are lots of fun BTS options for both books and pajamas.  Reading school themed books (in matching pajamas) could spark questions and dialogue in your child(ren)’s back to school return.  These conversations may help to ease any worries your child(ren) may have.  Here are some BTS book suggestions:

Elementary School

Middle School

High School


New (School) Year Resolutions- No need to wait until January, resolutions can be made at any time.  Have your child(ren) write down a couple of things that they are looking forward to or excited about doing/learning for the new school year.  Save the resolutions to share at the end of the school year.  

Meet the Teacher Treat- At your school’s open house/meet the teacher event take a treat for your teacher(s).  Educators give so much of their time, energy and money to their students.  Plus who doesn’t like a little surprise treat?  My one year old son attends daycare and I could not leave his teachers out.  I asked them what classroom supplies they would like (they were shocked that someone asked) I put the smaller supplies in a pencil box with some candy, and a gift card.  Tip: Adding ribbon always makes anything next level!

Photo Fun- Snap away and take ALL the first day pictures!  Add fun props, pennants, or signs for a memorable experience. Here are links for free printable props for your photoshoot.  Again, adding ribbon to your pennants makes them next level.    

First day of School Pennants

K-8 Pennants

Back to School Photo Booth Props

First Day of School Meal- Think of a meal or food item that your child(ren) really enjoys.  Have some of their “favs” for a first day of school celebration.  The celebration could be at breakfast, packed in their lunch or for dinner.  Breakfast is my favorite meal and I would love to have a special breakfast to celebrate the start of the new school year!

Check Your Energy- Many times our children mirror our energy and we see it at school.  Speak positively about school, staff around your children.  Tell your child(ren) each day that they are amazing and will do great things.  Speak those affirmations into existence!  Snoop Dogg has a catchy and cute affirmations song that works for both children and adults. 

Wishing you and your children a fantastic and successful school year!


Andrea Burston

Andrea J. Burston (@jyjcounselor on IG), is a school counselor extraordinaire at Joyner Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh.  She is also a new mom!


Heidi Pellegrino – entrepreneur and mom of 2

I have two teenagers going back to school this year.  My daughter is seventeen and going into her senior year of high school and my son is thirteen and going into eighth grade.  I have always loved having my kids home during track outs while we were year round or home for the summers now that we are on the traditional calendar school year.  So back to school time leaves me a little lonely.  I do love the quietness of the house but I’d much rather have the hustle and bustle of kids coming and going…and eating.  The snacking never seems to stop!

I have some rituals that I have developed over the years that even teenagers need at back to school time:

The Supplies – We of course get all our back to school supplies purchased, backpacks packed and lunches ready to go. 

Bedtime – One very important ritual that has proven imperative to a successful first week of school has been to start on an earlier bedtime and wake time, a week ahead of that first day of school.   I know, it’s a bummer and no teenager loves this idea…until the first week of school rolls around and they are either exhausted because they aren’t quite used to waking up so early or they feel ready for the week because they are on a good sleep schedule. Remember, high school starts a lot earlier!  It’s best to ease into this.  Maybe start with 15 minutes earlier every night and every morning, so it’s not such a shock to their teenage systems.  Ha!  

Meals – One other thing I love to do that first day of school is to make their favorite dinner.  It gives them something to look forward to during that first day away from home.  Having their favorite after school snack on hand is always a win too!  

Me Time – The last thing I do that first day of school is for myself as a mom.  I take some time just for me.  It might be that I take a yoga class, go for a walk, or meet a friend for lunch.  I do one thing just for me, as a little gift to myself for once again seeing my family through the end of summer as a healthy and happy bunch.

Heidi Pellegrino

Heidi Pellegrino is the founder of Girls Growing Up, a Holly Springs based organization that helps tween girls understand their changing female bodies during puberty. She is mom to two awesome kids and one wild puppy! 

recent on the blog

Five Questions to Ask When Considering Pre-K or Kindergarten for Your Child

A guest post by Lindsay Behrens, Head of Lower School at St. Timothy's School   School is more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Although these ...
Read More

Why families are taking a new look at virtual schools

I have noticed an increase in my clients asking about virtual school programs and wanted to learn more. So I asked the folks at CM Prep, ...
Read More

Should Children Have Cell Phones at School?

Guest Post by Jessica Lieb, B Honest Media   It has become increasingly common for students to have cell phones at school. In fact, many middle ...
Read More

A Celebration of Values

Figuring out how to evaluate a school and how to know if it’s the right fit for a family is the hardest thing I do. I ...
Read More

Our Montessori Journey

Our Durham consultant, Emmy Renquist, has a passion for Montessori. Though like many of you, I'm not sure she ever envisioned it being her choice beyond ...
Read More

5 Tips for Parents of Teens with Anxiety

Guest Post by Foundations Family Therapy Teen depression and anxiety are on the rise. As you may have seen in your own home with your children, ...
Read More

upcoming events

stay up to date

Sign up to recieve updates & event information
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.