This year isn’t going to look last year. No matter how much we want it to. As families around the globe adjust to what school looks like, the back to school traditions and moments are changing. Taking a few moments to share a story with a small human in your life about your favorite first day of school moment may help them find the joy this year.
Celebrating the First Day of School
I've noticed over the years that I am not one of those parents who celebrates the first day of school with great fanfare. Sometimes I wonder if my kids wish I were more over the top about it. But they are stuck with me. I do love seeing how other families celebrate the first day of school and share their child's growth.
As each year passes and social media allows us to see progression, the memories that fill my timeline every year are precious. These posts always include the comparison photos from kindergarten to 8th grade or a young child to a graduating senior. My favorites are probably the first day of school and end of school comparison photos.
Not walking the talk
With that being said, I am the worst at actually taking these photos. So if you are one of those parents that groans and beats up on yourself about forgetting to take the picture, I get you.
So how do we celebrate the first day of school in our house? I let the kids decide what we do after school and I make sure I don't have any work or client calls to do that day. This year we went for ice cream at our favorite place.
Here are a few prompts to help you document notable firsts in the back to school realm. You can use these prompts to guide a conversation with a storyteller and ask them about these memories.
Riding the bus
- What was it like the first time you rode a school bus?
- Did you like it?
- Were you scared?
- Did someone ride with you?
Going to High School
Keep in mind that not everyone will have gone to high school. Be ready to adapt and change your questions to accommodate their experiences.
- What was it like going to high school?
- Did you go to the same high school your parents did?
- What was your favorite class?
- Were you on a team or in a club? What did you like about it and why?
Think about a time when you started a new job. New jobs are notable firsts that often get overlooked when people are writing their stories down and discussing their lives with family.
- What was your first day like? Were you scared?
- Did you know anyone when you started? Was it hard to make friends?
- Did you enjoy working there? Why or why not?
Back to School Stories
Ultimately, I found that the best way to create a connection with someone is to share your own story and to ask intentional questions.
This includes talking to small humans and your own kids (if you have them). As someone who works with kids of all ages in scouting and sports, I always keep in mind that the “kid” in front of me is a human with their own emotions and experiences. This allows me to connect quickly even when I don't see them all the time. The same goes for adults.
Every human craves to be seen, heard, and listened too. When we give that, we offer a special connection they may not find anywhere else. If you have ever felt like you couldn’t connect with someone, start with this concept.
All About Me Assignments
Did you do your all about me google slides assignment? Back to school means filling out all sorts of worksheets and trying to answer questions like “what's your favorite food” and “what are you going to be when you grow up“. Every kid I know and love struggles with these questions. It got me thinking about all the ways we have to answer these kinds of questions as adults.
That's how we got this video on dating profiles, social media profiles, and medical intake forms. Yes, I'm being serious. It all started when I was working with my kids to finish their all about me assignments. Word choice played a huge part in how hard the assignment proved to be.
I hope the video helps you navigate those pesky (but important) About me assignments 😛
Looking for that thing to help you keep your storytellers engaged and talking? For the writer's in your care, this journal will keep them talking for a good long while. Encourage them (if they can) to reach out via phone or video to family members and share the memories they write about.
This journal was designed for storytellers in their sunset years who are ready to write about and share their memories. Simple to use and elegant enough to keep around to remind you of them long after they are gone.