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It’s the time of year where parents buy lunchbox snacks, kids stuff blank composition books into stiff backpacks, and teachers stand at their classroom door waiting to greet their new class. Happy back to school!

Regardless of the grade or school, the transition back to school is one filled with emotions: excitement, fear, nerves, laughter, tears and a lot of trusting that it will all turn out okay. During this emotional time, small gestures can mean so much. Here are a few ideas for simple gestures that will go a long way to developing the happy vibe about school that we all hope for. Please chime in with your own ideas!


  • Write a short lunch-box or backpack note with words of encouragement and comfort.
  • Share some books about first days of school (opens in a new window).
  • Make their favorite meal for dinner. Around my house that means chicken pot pie!
  • Help them start their school day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Share your own stories of back-to-school nerves. It may comfort your child to know that you have felt the same way!


  • Send a Happy Gram home with each child sometime during the first 10 days of school.
  • Laugh with your class about something silly.
  • Share some books about first days of school (opens in a new window).
  • Rejoice! If you’re like most primary-grade teachers I know and love, you’ve secretly been dying to meet your new class for weeks. Enjoy your new year!

In the spirit of keeping it simple, what small gestures have you made?

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
August 22, 2013