Transitioning Back to School with Creative Lunch Box Notes

Saturday, August 19, 2023
Going back to school is not always easy for kids. I loved school as a child, but The Jersey Momma's Boy doesn't hold the same affection for education! I'm a former teacher, yet the teacher's kid doesn't like school. Figures! Anyway, my daily lunch box notes actually help make the transition a little bit easier. Read on to see how.

I love to share this post at the end of every school year, as well as the beginning. Lunch box notes seem like such a small thing, but they can mean a lot to kids who struggle with anxiety or nervousness. Feel free to Pin this image for future use!

It started in Kindergarten.  This was a particularly difficult year for The Jersey Momma's Boy. He had just lost his cousin to cancer, and he had just lost his dog, Milo, to lung disease. He was starting school in a brand new place with kids he didn't know, and he was not looking forward to it. There were a lot of meltdowns, a lot of sadness and crying. I wished I didn't have to send him every day because he hated going. Every day. So I started leaving notes in his lunch box to cheer him up. They were written on post-it notes with a picture I would draw using a Sharpie. Then I'd color my drawing with crayons.

A rainy day lunch box note

He would always bring the notes back home and I would just throw them away. But one day he caught me tossing them and he said, 'Don't throw them out!  I want you to save them.'  I figured, why not? and stuffed them in a small ziploc bag in the kitchen each day when I emptied out his lunch box.

When Kindergarten ended, I put all the notes in a small photo album so he could look through them like a book. It would've been cooler if I could have found one of those peel and stick type of albums from the 80's, but I couldn't seem to find one in the store (do they even make them anymore? What do kids put their sticker collections in, for goodness sake?).

First Grade came around, and again, The Jersey Momma's Boy was not enthusiastic about heading back to school. That summer I kept a 'Stuff We Did' jar. Every time we visited someplace fun or did something memorable, I would write it on a little piece of paper and toss it into the jar (it was an old salsa jar that I had cleaned out).

I actually got the idea from the 'Stuff We Did' book from the movie, Up. Carl and Ellie kept an adventure scrapbook, but in there somewhere she had left him a 'Stuff We Did' section to see after she had gone.

Before school started, we looked through all of the fun things we had done that summer.  We talked about all the fun things we would do again next summer. It made the transition a little easier.

And then my notes began again. This time I started saving them right from the beginning of the year (although some didn't survive the transition home, but most did). I kept them in a new ziploc bag in the kitchen drawer. I meant to take them out at the end of the school year like we did in Kindergarten, but I totally forgot about them. First Grade was a great year. The Jersey Momma's Boy had an awesome teacher and I will always be grateful for the kindness, caring and consideration she showed him!

Summer flew by in all of its majestic glory and Second Grade appeared on the horizon. The Jersey Momma's Boy was not really excited, but not really dreading it like he did Kindergarten, either. Just by chance, I came across the bag of notes from the previous year while cleaning the kitchen.  I decided to spread the notes out for him to see. School was starting in a few days, so I thought maybe it would make him smile.

Over 100 Lunch Box notes from 1st Grade!

What I didn't expect was how enthusiastic the notes made him.  As we read through each one, it helped him remember all of the fun times from school, similar to our Summer jar.  'Have fun on your field trip!' 'Smile for Picture Day!' 'Have fun exchanging Valentines!' Each note was a reminder of classroom fun.  'Enjoy the Science Show today!' 'See you at the Spring Concert!' or  his favorite, 'You made it!  Last day!'

It wasn't always easy to think of what to draw for each note.  Sometimes I cheated and traced something or used a favorite cartoon character.  For May the 4th I substituted some Star Wars lunch box notes I found on Pinterest.  If you can't draw, you can always put a sticker on a note each day.  Or just make a simple face with a different expression.  I keep the words short and simple, because I know he won't want to read a novel!

Lunch Box note love

So the lunch box notes have become a necessity in this household! I make each one the night before so I don't have to rush and do it in the morning.  Now if only I could get him to eat a decent lunch. All he ever wants me to pack him are crackers and pepperoni. Sigh.

1 comment

  1. I love the notes. I used to add notes to my daughter's folder when she was younger but I didn't do nearly as many as you did.

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