Like Staples once sang, "it's the most wonderful time of the year!"

The start of a new school year is exciting and yes, wonderful. There are discoveries to make and fun challenges to take on; friends to play with and amazing books to read. However, even if children are excited to start school again, the first day can definitely bring about some jitters.

So are you ready for your pop quiz? What can get rid of nervous butterflies in your child's tummy? Well, we're confident that a special outfit, fun photo, and a pancake bar will do the trick.

Here are 20 of our favorite ways to celebrate and document your little ones first day of school (because let's be honest, it's an important and emotional day for parent and child!):


Chalk art is fun, colorful, and easy to do. You can go as creative or as simple as you'd like. Just have your little scholar pose by your creation (or their creation!) and you're good to go.

There are so many amazing little things that make your child unique. Celebrate them with a personalized sign from MiBella Designs showcasing your ones special info.

A photo in a photo in a photo...this idea is so cool! We love how this photo project directly shows the growth and changes of your child over time.

Go Grow Go! blog shows us how to create a back-to-school themed dry erase frame. This idea is perfect to use year after year, and easy for families with multiple school-aged children.

Nothing screams "back-to-school" more than a fresh, crisp spiral notebook -- so this is the perfect photo prop for this year! This is one classic idea.

Catch a quick photo before your kids rush off on the bus. Maybe this distraction will help mama from shedding tears?

Add a popsicle stick to this *free printable* and voilà! -- you have a sweet little sign to accentuate the cutest of your little guy or gal.

Does it get cuter than this? A simple chalkboard and a beautiful

smile will do the trick

. Don't forget to have your little guy or gal

pose the same way on the last day of school, too – just remember to update your


This frame would be such a fun craft

to make with your children in preparation of the big day!


and decorate it together, then they can use it to pose for photos before they

head out the door.

Ask your child to draw themselves on the first day of school, and then ask them for a self portrait on the last day of school. Admire the growth of your child -- both physically and artistically.

Ask your child some questions and be

prepared for both thoughtful and hilarious answers

. Then, bookmark


end of year interview so

you can follow up with them on the last day of school.

Back-to-school clothes shopping

helps get the excitement going for some kiddos. However, we're pretty sure



would love a special outfit to mark the

occasion like this fancy frock

. (There are so many cute options!)


boys get special outfits, too! Your little guy is going to

love this super cute shirt with his

name on it

. (It's so hard to choose just one.)

How can you make the first day of

school different than other, regular mornings?

Set up a top secret, special breakfast

table for your children to see in the morning


This banner is sure to put a pep in

your child's back-to-school step.

And bonus! These are

free printables you can assemble yourself.

Now, don't forget the food! Feed your child these amazing owl


to encourage optimum growth and learning this year.

Decisions, decisions...What fun

breakfast idea will you choose?

A pancake bar is super fun and

different, too

! No matter which special concoction you choose, we're

sure your cutie will be very pleased.

Another way to mark the big day is

to read books that will prepare your little one for the year ahead.

The Kissing Hand will bring them comfort and reassurance asthey

embark on a journey without mom and dad.

Chrysanthemum teaches

acceptance and self esteem

– a great read to share with your son or

daughter in order to get them in the right mindset of being nice and making friends for the first day back.

The Name Jar is a

classic story of being the new kid in town

, but in this case, also

having a name that's hard to pronounce. She wants to choose a more

"normal" name, but ultimately her classmates help her come to love

and appreciate her birth name.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."


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