Last Friday was my kids’ last official day of school. Surprisingly they weren’t as excited for that day to come as I expected. I thought they’d be thrilled to be done with homeschooling with their least favorite teacher. But to them it felt like any other day.
Maybe that was because the days are all blurring together now and they really didn’t know what day it was.
We were blessed by a family whose business sponsored an ice cream truck in our neighborhood to celebrate the last day of school. A few days before their teachers had hosted end of the year “parties on zoom.” But it just wasn’t the same.
That night at dinner I asked my 5-year-old if he was excited that he finished Kindergarten and was moving up to 1st grade. His response kind of threw me for a loop.
“But I didn’t finish Kindergarten!” he said.
That’s when I realized that he was seeing everything from a totally different perspective. Through his eyes, school stopped abruptly two months ago and he never went back.
He didn’t get to have a Kindergarten graduation where his name would have been called so that he could walk across the cafeteria stage to get his diploma. There was no party with his classmates or watching movies and eating sugary treats during the last week of school.
I know that graduating from Kindergarten isn’t as big of a deal as graduating from high school. He didn’t miss his Senior prom or his Senior Skip Day. Luckily for him, there will be plenty more years of school to see his friends again. There will be time to make memories and participate in all the traditions.
Our kids may be resilient and forget all about the year they were stuck at home for months at a time without even being able to see their grandparents or friends. They may even be enjoying the extra time they’re getting at home with their family. They might not mind the lack of structure, and that they’re getting to stay up late every night.
But they are still feeling the effects of all the birthday parties and vacations that have been cancelled. They still might be sad that they didn’t get to hug their teachers goodbye on the last day of school.
Even though it might not be the same, they are still finishing their school year and moving on to the next. So make sure to let your child know how proud you are of them.
HOW TO CELEBRATE THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL:
- Have an ice cream sunday bar.
- Throw a dance party.
- Let your child pick out a new outside water toy for the Summer.
- Have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.
- Watch a movie together as a family and let your child pick the movie.
- Take a special picture on your front porch (even if you forgot to do it on the last day of school and have to take it a week later.)
- Have a water balloon fight.
You don’t have to organize a 50 car parade of friends and family, but you can still make their end of the school year feel special. Get creative!
This article from Psychology Today has more ideas on how to help your child deal with disappointment. Share in the comments your ideas!