Ease the Back to School Transition: Lunchbox Note, Meet Pencil Box Note


I knew my new second grader was nervous about going back to school. I had to figure out a way to ease the back to school transition. I searched my house for a Sharpie that would show up on a black surface and drew a heart in his pencil box. I showed it to him and told him when he saw it, he could remember how much his dad and I love him and know that we are thinking of him.

I was going to leave it at that, but when I showed it to him, he asked me to write something too.

I’m not an on-the-fly writer. I need to be inspired. I need the right pen. I need silence. I also overthink everything and while I wanted to write something short, sweet, and to the point, I also wanted words that would be meaningful to a seven-year-old, and, you know, create lifelong resilience and core memories. So, I handed the pencil box and marker over to my husband (who always has the right words to say) while I pondered what I could write that would genuinely ease the back to school transition.

This is what I came up with. I wish it was better, but my son read it and got the biggest smile on his face. He adores our dog, Chewy, so I knew he had to be included in any messaging too. Of course, Dad’s message was the short, sweet, and to-the-point message I was looking for.

note written on the inside of a pencil box

In kindergarten and first grade, there were times my son spoke about various things that happened and how they made him upset or caused him to have a bad day. We’ve talked about feelings and how to be proactive in those situations. I try to help him prepare for the reality that annoying things happen all the time, and it’s just normal elementary-aged kid stuff.

Some of the things he told me made me feel bad that I couldn’t be there with him.

I hope our secret pencil box notes change that. I hope he sees our messages and that they ease the back to school transition for him.

I prefer the pencil box note to the lunchbox note because if he’s feeling down or discouraged, he doesn’t have to wait until lunchtime to see our note. If it’s a day he wants me to pack him lunch instead of eating what they are serving at school that day- he still gets a note from us.

We already know he will be in his pencil box multiple times a day. I just hope he takes that second or two and glances up to see what we wrote.

No, the pencil box note is not going to solve all the world’s problems, but I hope it makes a difference in my son’s school year- and for your child too! This is a quick and easy way to remind them that we love them.

Oh, and if you’re like me, and can’t come up with anything on the fly, my husband came up with this list of ideas for short, encouraging messages:

Make today your best day.
Be kind.
You’ve got this!
Never give up!
You make the world a better place.
You are a wonderful kid.
We believe in you.

Can you think of any other places to write cute notes? What do you do to ease the back to school transition?

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Ease the Back to School Transition: Lunchbox Note, Meet Pencil Box Note

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