Every year since my oldest went off to first grade I've thrown a back to school party the night before! This year we have a 5th grader, a 1st grader, and 2 preschoolers.
We let the kids pick the dinner menu a few days before hand, and we have a big family dinner party! Little details like personalized crowns, flowers,decorations, balloons, sparkeling juice served in plastic wine glasses (this year I couldn't find the glasses so we had to do without, of course I found them the next morning), and dessert. If I can, I get them a small school themed present - nothing big, just something to take to school. Last year it was new water bottles.
Two things I wish I had done differently:
I usually ask them to dress up, but this year Robbie talked me out of it + I am so mad he did. 🙄 It looks so much cuter in the pictures. Annnnd, the kids missed the plastic wine glasses.
This year I truly threw it together the day before. So clearly you can see there is nothing fancy in this picture. It makes the kids feel important and psyched up about school either way! I got my husband to do the shopping (and the cooking, but he loves that part) so really all I had to do is pick up the balloons and think of last minute little details that wouldn't require me to do too much.
I was super lazy this year, lazier than in year's past. See below:
This year the menu the kids picked was steak, mac n cheese, potatoes, salad (my choice), sparkling apple juice and key lime pie. I made a bouquet of lollipop "flowers" as a surprise. In their seats were their crowns- sometimes I cut them myself out of poster board, this year I just ordered blank ones off Amazon and the kids got to design their own. I'm telling you - easy. We put what grade they are going into on the top. They liked making their own and it took something off my plate! But surprising them with my own creation is also fun and.
Also waiting for them in their seats was a little wrapped up gift- a pencil bags and inside was a chapstick, a light up pencil, those fun erasers kids like, random dollar spot toy for the 2 younger ones, and hair ties for my oldest daughter to keep in her backpack because she is always looking for one when she's hot.
Something new I did this year was I had them memorize a little something to tell us at dinner. That was a whim, but it went over well. I think I should do that more often. Robbie learned a funny poem, Sofie memorized our phone numbers, and Leo memorized what street we live on. Camille... she just said "I live in Durwum!" over and over. Of course I bribed them with chocolate to do that.
At dinner I asked the kids if they knew why we throw the back to school party every year, and they did! My favorite answer though was "to make us feel like kings and queens because we're about to do something that sucks." HA. Yes child, that's the idea.
The other reason is simply because I am a big fan of traditions. When we do something over and over together as a little crew, it builds on our identity and strength as a family. A sense of belonging. Something only "their" family does. I want our kids to have lots of things to look back on and say "oh my family always did..." I am always looking for more ideas of traditions- big or small- that we can start!
I'll leave you with this: Sofia drinking her juice out of the biggest chalice I could find, at our 2015 back to school party.