I do not personally have a school-aged kid just yet, but I have lots of “bonus kids” in my life that I love and cherish times when I can do something special for them. Last year, I thought of starting a back-to-school tradition of a little treat ahead of their first day. My “bonus kids” were entering kindergarten, and we all tried to make it a VERY big deal for them – such a huge milestone! Here are some fun ideas to let your own “bonus kids”, nieces and nephews, or neighbors know you are thinking of them and wish them well in their new school year!
Set aside some time just for them!
Take them on an ice cream date to celebrate the end of summer and spend the time encouraging them on the year ahead! Many kids get nervous around the first day of school and may not feel they have a good avenue to express those feelings. Be that safe space! Don’t pry too much or they’ll think they SHOULD have a reason to worry, but always assure them that you are an adult they can trust and wish them all the best!
Get some fun (cheap) school supplies!
I am in love (utterly in love) with the dollar store. It is incredible all of the amazing things you can find there that kids will go crazy over. Load them up on fun school supplies. My “bonus kids” had a blast getting simple items like new pencils, fresh blank notebooks, and other very simple and very cheap supplies. Here are my go-to ideas for a little blessing bag all from the dollar store:
- Colored pencils
- Lined notebooks or spirals
- Practice workbooks (math, spelling, writing, etc) – these usually have grade numbers or ages attached so you can be sure that they are age appropriate
- Pencil case
- Colored or decorative pocket folders
Even a $5 gift card can be a HUGE deal for a little kid. I like to choose Chick-fil-A or Sonic and include a little note that says something about using the card for a treat after their first day or school (or something to that effect). And speaking of cards…
Write them an encouraging note!
My favorite part of the gift last year was sitting down to write my “bonus kids” an encouraging note. Remind them that you love and care for them. Tell them how excited you are that they are going to school to learn and grown. Encourage them to make friends and to always be the kindest person in the class. Tell them you cannot wait to hear how their first week went and maybe you can help them use their gift card (see above) to talk about it all! These little notes may be lost on them depending on their age, but their parents will appreciate them. If they are anything like my friends, they’ll treasure the gesture and keep record of it to remind their kiddo when they’re older.
Can you imagine if all kids went to school feeling loved, cherished, and encouraged by adults other than their parents and teachers? Can you imagine if children all competed to be the kindest kid in the classroom? Can you imagine how special a kid would feel to know that an adult they love and trust wants to spend time with them alone in a safe and fun environment with the ability to open up about anything? Back to school time offers us the opportunity to be the change in the start of the school year, even if our own kids are not there yet.