The last day of school usually brings excitement and high energy to those children looking forward to their summer break. But for some kids the end of the school year can result in anxiety and sadness. They might be worried about missing their friends, their teacher or are already feeling anxious about the next school year. No matter which reaction your kids are having, there are several steps you can take to make sure their last day of school is fun and memorable.
If your child is acting out, gets moody when you talk about school coming to an end or seems anxious, encourage him to talk about his feelings. Let him know it’s alright to be sad about school ending – lots of kids feel the same way. Going over the summer schedule or making solid plans for play dates with his friends may help him feel more secure.
There’s nothing like making or buying gifts to help a kid enjoy a celebration. Even though some children don’t fully understand their need to feel accepted by peers, choosing something thoughtful for their friends might help kids feel more bonded and give them a way to express their feelings of closeness. Both boys and girls like to wear and trade friendship bracelets; you might opt to give them in a gift envelope that includes a phone number to make staying in touch easier.
Have a Visit
If your child is changing schools over the summer, try to arrange a visit to the new classroom, or at least the new campus. Knowing exactly what her new school looks like will ease anxieties and may even get your student excited about the change. Younger children will benefit from seeing their upcoming classroom and meeting their new teacher even if they’re only moving one or two doors down the hall.
Don’t Forget the Teacher
All teachers are special, but if your child’s teacher has gone above and beyond, help your child say thank you with a special gift. Instead of a coffee mug or tote bag (teachers already have plenty of those) enjoy some time in the kitchen with your child and make his or her teacher a batch of delicious homemade cookies. A handmade thank you card is the perfect accompaniment and will give your child a chance to share their heartfelt appreciation.
Waiting until the last minute to deal with the emotional changes, solidify connections with friends, or buy or make gifts will only increase everyone’s anxiety. Start making plans for the last day of school a few weeks before it’s scheduled to end. Talk to your student about the special things they might like to do to commemorate their year in school and find out how they’re feeling. A little preparation from you can make a world of difference to your child.