Raising Lexington: End of School Blues
Your kids may be counting the days until summer vacation, but they may also be sad to leave their friends and a routine they have come to rely on.
Ah, the end of the school year. Those half-focused, spring days filled with picnics, field day games and endless hours looking for those unreturned library books.
It's time to wrap up the school year, say goodbye to our favorite teachers and promise your kids they will see their friends all summer. It’s a love hate relationship really: the kids love to be out of school and you hate to think of all of the activities you’ll have to line up to keep them occupied.
But as much, as kids say they love this time of year, I think there is a little bit of dread too. Think about it. Your kids see their friends daily, learn (hopefully) fun and interesting things and get used to a routine they can rely on. In an otherwise uncertain world, this is your child’s sure thing. I think that might be hard to let go.
While I think it is fun for kids to participate in all of the end of the year rituals, like field day, I am not into the whole countdown to the last day of school mentality. I am not even sure my kids know when the last day is. As a matter of fact, I was off by two days when I started thinking about summer plans! I’d rather focus on when camp, family trips and special events begin than when school ends. Maybe that sounds a little over-protective, but school is so important and kids will eventually be influenced by the whole “end of the year countdown” excitement from their friends that I decided it wouldn’t come from me.
Instead of marking off the days on the calendar I focus on the cool things they are learning at school. I am sure at this point in the school year teachers could use some help in the refocusing department. The smell of sunscreen has blurred our kids thinking. And as the mounds of art work, special projects and book reports come home we talk about everything they have learned since September. We talk about how they felt that first week of school. What they thought of their now best friend forever and the teacher they thought might be too hard on them.
My daughter gives thoughtful advice to her younger brother, like make sure mom puts money in your school lunch account in case you don’t like what she packed you, and don’t bring stuff to school you don’t want everyone to grab, whine over playing with or breaking. My son asks heart-tugging questions like, "Will you walk me to class the first few days of school?" And "What if I can’t see over the lunch counter?" "Yes," and "I am sure you will grow taller this summer" were my answers, but what I wanted to say was I will walk you to class everyday for the rest of your academic life and I will lift you up anytime you need to see something, but I heard the sound of a helicopter hovering so I didn’t.
So I am being vague about the end of the school year and just letting them enjoy these action packed final weeks, because I know deep down that they will miss their teachers, their friends and their routine. Or at least that is what I think. Maybe the reality is that I will miss their friends, their teachers and their routine.