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3 ways to celebrate the end of the school year

by Tricia Mirchandani on May 21, 2014

We’re really excited to kick off a new series of posts by Tricia of the blog Raising Humans. Tricia will be sharing ideas for simple, sane, and satisfying celebrations throughout the year – ways to acknowledge milestones and recognize accomplishments without going overboard. First up: three simple ways to celebrate the end of the school year with your kids. Enjoy! -Meagan

hh_endofschoolyear_photo
Last year, my daughter completed her ‘first year of school.’

Granted, it was just preschool, but sitting at her end-of-year concert and watching her smile and sing and laugh with her friends and classmates made me realize how far she had come in just nine short months. She’d transitioned from tentative little toddler to full on preschooler, ready for Pre-K. I wanted to celebrate her, her hard work, and her journey. I wanted her to know that completing a school year is an accomplishment, an occasion worthy of a little time to reflect and a time to celebrate.

Whether it’s the first, the last, or any of the multitudes in between, the end of the school year is a naturally perfect time to reflect on your child’s accomplishments and to celebrate her and all of her hard work.

Now, before you start to hyperventilate over the wild and crazy celebration ideas that the Internet probably holds, take a deep breath. When I say celebrate, I’m not talking about Billy-Madison-style extravaganzas to mark the end of second grade. Celebrating doesn’t take a lot and, especially on the brink of summer vacation, a little can go a long way.

end of school

Here are a few small, simple ways to mark the end of another school year and start the summer off on a celebratory note!

1. Reflect over a meal

The school year just officially ended, mere seconds ago. Maybe you’re all dressed up. Maybe you’re all just amped up on excitement and adrenalin. Either way, heading straight home feels a little anti-climactic. So where do you head with your newly free little birds

Out to eat!

Some of my loveliest family memories have taken place over a plate of quesadillas. Gathered around a table in the first hours of summer vacation, you and your kiddos can take a minute to breathe in that new sense of freedom and reflect on the year that brought you there. While you eat, daydream back nine months to those first days of school, relive the ups, and some of the downs, and celebrate the accomplishments big and small of the school year that has passed. As a parent, you’ll get to enjoy this time to reflect on your growing child and your child will learn how important it is to take a moment to look back at how far he’s come.

2. Give a little gift

In general, I’m not talking about anything extravagant here. While some years, such as those that end with a formal graduation, might warrant a big gift, most do not. In fact, the best small gift to mark the end of a year of school is a book.

Choose a title that your child is interested in and would love to read for fun, now that she has the time to do so. Resist the temptation to scan next year’s reading list in hopes of getting a head start on the upcoming syllabus and, rather, use this time to remind your child how much she loves to read and how much fun it is to get lost in a good story. We started this tradition last year with my daughter and I look forward to celebrating her, and adding to her personal library, at the start of each summer.

3. Make it a movie night

With the end of school come the easy, breezy days of summer. The sun lingers longer into the evening before settling beneath the horizon… and little ones believe it their right to linger a little longer too before settling into bed! Give into that later bedtime request, at least for a night, and stay up to watch a movie as a family. Make popcorn or eat pizza, curl up under blankets on the couch or spread a bed out on the floor, whatever makes for fun viewing in your home. If you don’t do this kind of thing often, staying up late will feel so exciting to your kids. And hey, you don’t have to pack a lunch for tomorrow so you can enjoy the evening too!

How do you celebrate the end of the school year with your kids?

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Thanks so much, Tricia! Look for Tricia’s ideas on simple celebrations every other month or so here at The Happiest Home. In the meantime, go grab some more of her lovely words on her blog, Raising Humans, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

 Balloon image via Allison H, Flickr Creative Commons
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Meagan Francis May 21, 2014 at 8:34 am

Love these ideas, Tricia! LOL at “Billy Madison style” party. Billy passed the third grade, oh what a glorious day…

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Tricia May 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm

haha right! :) Only in movies!

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Sarah Powers May 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I totally want to start the book gift tradition – and perfect timing as my oldest finishes kindergarten next week! I love your simple, focused, and thoughtful approach. So excited to have you here! xo

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Tricia May 21, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Thanks, Sarah! So excited to be here! The book tradition is so much fun. My daughter still remembers the book we gave her last year as the one she got at the end of the school year. I love that it means something special to her too!

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Sher May 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

we make s’mores in the fire pit on the last night of the school year and stay up LATE :)

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Tricia May 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm

So much fun! This might be the year we introduce our kids to s’mores. I expect them to love the idea and eat a lot of chocolate :)

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Tamara May 21, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I can’t even remember what we did last year!
This year seems bigger and scarier. She’s going back to the same preschool for a pilot summer camp program which I am SO HAPPY about.
I love your ideas and I just may use ‘em.

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Tricia May 27, 2014 at 8:46 am

Use ‘em! This year is bigger for you! (and yeah, scarier too). So all the more reason to celebrate! :)

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Eli@coachdaddy May 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm

1. I really wanted to imagine you tossing a Billy Madison-type blowout, Tricia. This from a dude who might or might not live like Adam Sandler of Big Daddy fame.

2. This summer, I will take my girls to a huge book store just over the state line. They have everything. None of them like to read. I think they just haven’t found their literary love. We all have one. I’ll be matchmaker.

3. Our end-of-school tradition used to involve Chuck E. Cheese and water balloons. Not together, of course. We’ve outgrown the party mouse (thank you sweet baby Jesus in the manger), but the water balloons are here to stay.

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Tricia May 27, 2014 at 8:48 am

:) haha oh Billy. Not sure I have that kinda thing in me! I have no doubt your girls will find their literary calling and nestle it nicely in between the water balloons.

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