When it comes to school mornings, what we say when we kiss our kids goodbye can often fly under the radar. But, even though the other stuff must come first (breakfast—check, lunch packed—check, shoes on feet—check!) those last-minute attributes are important, too. We asked parents all over the country for their daily traditions, and collected our favorites! From creative silliness to classic kisses, scroll down to see them all.

photo: MFer Photography via Flickr

The Classic Kiss

While some parents end up with an unusual tradition, the classic kiss and “I love you, have a good day” holds strong.

A Hiccup

Totally unique and evolved out of SPOKE contributor Corey W and her kiddo’s Kindergarten transition, the “hiccup” consists of “a high five, a kiss, and then I’d pick her up and hug her. We called it a ‘hiccup’ goodbye because the first letters of the first two steps and the last two letters of the last step seemed to spell it out!”

photo: Leslie Science & Nature Center via Flickr 

A Reminder to Put on Their Listening Ears

From one mom who actually puts on her listening ears with her kid to other parents who gently remind their little ones to listen to their teachers, it’s popular for mom and dad to instill the importance of paying attention. 

A Sweet Tradition

Red Tricycle’s very own Ad Sales manager had a sweet school morning tradition with her own mom growing up, “every year before the first day of school, my mom would say the Shehecheyanu prayer (to celebrate something new) and always tell me to take the first step out of the house with my right foot.”

photo: Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Hugs, Hugs and More Hugs!

Some parents twirl their kids around in a hug, some give a tight squeeze at their kid’s eye level, and one mom had us giggling with her totally unique version: “Before my kids walk out in the morning, we give each other what we call a T-Rex hug. I put my elbows really close to my sides, extend my forearms at a 90-degree angle and awkwardly pat the arms of my children, while they do the same to me. Not all that affectionate, but it makes us giggle every time.”

Blow Kisses

A twist on the traditional, some parents and kids send out an airborne version of a kiss. We especially love the way one creative mom does it “We blow each other a kiss and catch the kiss, and rub it on our cheeks so we can keep it with us all day.”

Keep It Simple

Teacher Jill Hornstein shares her favorite: “A fist bump. The kids that have a simple ritual are the ones that come in ready and excited to learn. Parents should NOT walk their kids into school every day. Start from the beginning allowing them to be independent.”

photo: David Woo via Flickr 

A Secret Handshake

Our Managing Editor says she and her son have developed a secret handshake, “We change them seasonally, and they are goofy. So after the love you’s and hugs, we have a quick ‘handshake’ that says, I’ll be here when you’re done with this school thing.”

A Good Start

Another way to start the day with affirmations is how SPOKE contributor Iliana Rosario-Urban does it, “Every morning during the school year I wake up before the boys and I write a positive note on the bathroom mirror so while they are brushing their teeth they can start their day with positive affirmations.”

photo: Philippe Put via Flickr 

Affirmation Questions

The drop-off line is a great place to throw in last-minute positive reinforcement. From “Are you going to make someone smile?” and “Are you going to be confident?” to “Are you going to make good choices?” there’s no end to the ways you can remind kids of what they need to be doing each day. 

Love Signs

Signing the words “I Love You,” is a sweet and easy tradition to start. One mom, who has a difficult drop-off kid says “Peace Out!” while throwing up the peace sign out the car window. 

photo: Coline Haslé on Unsplash

From the Heart

Mom Jesseca charmed us with her sweet goodbye tradition: “I draw a small heart on my hand, and one on my daughter’s. We ‘charge’ them by holding hands to drop off. Then if she needs extra love or encouragement during the day, she can press the heart for a boost.”

Rock Star Mornings

Mom Sara Schultz Borgstede doesn’t draw hearts, she draws stars instead. “I draw a little star on their wrist because they are my rock stars!”

Power Jams

Yup, power jams are still, well, powerful. From one mom’s slightly shocking version, “I take musical requests on the way to school which usually means that I pull up to the Catholic school drop off with something very inappropriate like Gangsta’s Paradise, Hypnotize (the clean version, of course) or California Love blasting from my minivan” to the most motivating songs around (Thunder, Born this Way, What About Us, etc.), kids love heading to the classroom with a killer beat and positive lyrics on the mind.

photo: Charlene Webster/Cavalier 92 via Flickr 

Other Favorites

Readers and parents shared so many sweet goodbyes—we had to include a few more.

“Be kind, I love you.”

“You are an amazing kid! Go have an amazing day! “

“Eat, sleep, and play well! Learn something new!

“Te amo mi vida! Or I love you mi vida!”

“Every morning at drop off, I race my son up the stairs at school. It’s a “me and him” thing that leaves us both cracking up and energized for the day. He beats me every time.” – SPOKE contributor Elizabeth Silva

“My son goes to a Montessori school. Most of the rooms have different class pets. Every morning my husband and the kiddo stop into a different room to visit them before getting settled into his own class. The blue fish room is currently his favorite.” – SPOKE contributor Elysa

— Gabby Cullen with Amber Guetebier, Andy Huber, Maria Chambers, Ayren Jackson-Cannady, Beth Shea, Kate Loweth

 

RELATED STORIES:

15 Thoughts Every Parent Secretly Has about Back to School

15 Ways to Earn Money Once the Kids Go Back to School

Back-to-School Tips from Teachers Every Parent Should Read