One of the unique things about human beings is that we have the ability to live in the present, reflect back on the past and plan for the future. Saying goodbye is a lifelong process. As the school year ends, children are leaving teachers, friends and a daily routine to which they have grown accustomed. This is an exciting time, and can also be stressful for children and their parents. Here’s how to help:
- Listen. Some children are happy or excited, while others might be mad, sad, or anxious. Your job is to be curious, acknowledge/honor feelings and to understand – not to change their feelings.
- Invite reflection. “What was something that was challenging this year?” “What was something you enjoyed?” “What was a mistake that you learned from?” “What did you learn about being a friend?” Don’t ask all of the questions at once. Space them out over time. It helps children recognize and evaluate the changes that they have experienced, what they have learned, how they have grown. Create a summer journal which offers space to reflect on the past school year and room to plan for the upcoming one.
- Make a scrapbook. Look through photos you have taken throughout the year, and the artwork, writing etc that children have brought home . Have your child select favorites to include. They can add comments about their favorite memory, what they learned, or about their classmates.
- Help your child show appreciation. Invite them to make a gift for their teacher: a card or small craft project.
- Look forward. Make a list together for things that would make summer fun. You might not get to all of the things on the list, but you will learn about your child and have some time together.
- Create Routine The daily schedule of school creates a rhythm and structure for children that is helpful. Although the summer schedule is often different invite your child to help create a routine for those summer days. You might include daycare of summer camp, playing outside, reading, practicing a skill, or helping helping around the house.