Parent2Parent: Capturing the Moment. Back-to-School Photo Traditions Contest!
September 3, 2013
Written by Janice Zielinski

My parents chose simplicity, and consistency. My siblings and I stood in the same spots on the front porch, holding up however many fingers aligned to our grade. First grade meant one finger. Second grade was two fingers. You get it, right? This proved challenging in our junior year of high school, but we improvised with a few options. Do I do a one on one hand, and a one on the other hand, indicating 11? Or do I use all my toes plus one finger? Or one hand, one foot, and one finger? The options are endless!

I’ve seen other back-to-school photo traditions that I’m considering using with my own kids:

1. Frames. Oversized frames held in front of your child on the first day of school, and again on the last day of school, capture that crazy amount of change that occurs during the school year. I’ve also seen some, where on the last day, they hold up a picture of themselves on the first day. (Think Modern Family intro).

2. Chalkboard. With the resurgence of all things crafty, chalkboards are available everywhere you look. Add the date and grade, and you won’t have to later guess how old Susie was the year she had the Barbie backpack.

3. Chalkboard career! Capture the moment by adding to the chalkboard idea with an “I want to be a ____.” My pre-K son’s answer is currently a tornado-chaser or a Beatle. The band, not the bug.

4. First day. Last day. Have your studious kiddo stand in front of a tree with a “First day of ____” on day one, and later the “Last day of ____” so you can see the reality of, “what a difference a year makes.”

5. Favorites. I’ve seen something similar done with birthdays. Make a list of your child’s favorite things, and after you’ve uploaded, add them to the image with a basic image editor. A quick list includes favorite food, drink, TV show, movie, shoes, and outfit.

6. Bus goodbye. Be that parent that sits in their car at the bus stop until the bus arrives. Then as your kiddo heads off to school, get them waving goodbye from the window. Then, if you’re anything like me, follow them to school, and get a picture of them getting off the bus at school. They can stop being embarrassed when they get to college.

While I love a good professional photo of my kids, I also love the chances I get to capture special moments. And get creative with it!

What are your back-to-school photo traditions? Share your creative back-to-school photo with KidsLinked via Facebook and win a family 4-pack of COSI tickets and a gift card to Menchies! Enter your back-to-school photo now!

Get to Know Our Resident Parent Advice Guru, Parent2Parent Columnist, Janice Zielinski

Janice Zielinski is a mother to a bouncing five-year old boy and sweet-as-pie one-year-old girl. She grew up in nearby Lancaster, and has lived in Columbus, with her husband, for more than 10 years. Janice enjoys writing, both professionally and personally, including her family blog. Janice has been involved with KidsLinked for a handful of years, including serving as a board member, and now is our "parent advice guru" for our twice weekly Parent2Parent articles. She is living and breathing motherhood and draws from her personal experiences for her writing, including that ever-challenging balance of work and family.

If you’d like to contact Janice directly, please email

Stay tuned for our next Parent2Parent!

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