Family traditions. Experts say they provide a source of identity to children, create family cohesiveness, and provide security and comfort.
Personally, the family traditions from my childhood have provided some of my favorite memories. Maybe they stay in my mind because they weren’t one-time events – we repeated them over and over. Now that I have my own family, I love the idea of creating our own memorable traditions.
The end of school is just days away for many of us. While most of us mark the beginning of the school year with a first-day-of-school photo, we don’t do much to mark the end of the year. It’s an important milestone (not to mention the kick-off to summer!) and a great time to incorporate a new family tradition. To get some ideas, I gathered a few of my favorite moms and came up with some memorable ways to celebrate not only the last day of school, but everything your kids have accomplished over the year. Adopt one or all of these ideas, repeat in the years to come, and voila – you’ve got a new tradition!
1) Take Last Day of School Photos
You lined your kids up in their spanking new outfits and lunchboxes for the first day of school, right? Why not take photos on the last day of school? Make sure they’re standing in the same spot, potentially even wearing the same outfits, to see how much they’ve grown. You could even do a before and after photo of their lunch boxes (they take a lickin’!). Pose them with a sign, like “Kindergarten Graduation” or “Last Day of 6th Grade.”
2) Host an After-School Celebration
If you live in a neighborhood where children are walking by your house after school, there’s nothing more fun than greeting them with celebratory popsicles, lemonade, or other treats. Set up a little table in the front yard and give anyone getting off the bus or walking home a little something. Invite carpools to swing by, if you like. If you’d rather keep it to your own home, serve ice cream sundaes or another special food and celebrate the high points of their year. This could involve writing down or drawing pictures of their favorite memories – a moment, a best friend, what they’ll miss about their teacher, etc. These can all be added to their scrapbook.
3) Review the Year’s Projects Together
Whether your child is in preschool or high school, you’ve no doubt kept art, worksheets, and projects throughout the year. The last day of school is a great time to review all the stuff you’ve been saving and reflect on everything they’ve accomplished. Ask them to choose their favorite 3-4 items for keepsakes, and invite them to recycle the rest. To streamline even more, go digital – take photos of favorite projects to put into the family photo book, instead of keeping the actual works of art. This creates a more uniform, smooth, flat way of remembering art and schoolwork. This is especially helpful when projects involve paint, glue, pipe cleaners, fraying paper edges, or are 3-dimensional or otherwise awkwardly shaped. Just snap a photo and recycle away! (double happiness = quality time with your kids while simultaneously purging)
4) Create a Memory Book
Get a special scrapbook for each child. Towards the end of every year, provide their teacher, a coach, or a mentor with a blank note card and a request that they write a little note to your child with a few memories of the year. Put the note in the scrapbook with school photos and any other keepsakes you’d like to include. Give it to your son or daughter when they graduate from high school, and they’ll have memories from their entire education to keep forever.
These are just four ideas from a few awesome moms. We’re sure you have some traditions of your own, and we’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments below.
Summer is almost upon us! Visit us next week when we’ll be sharing 5 Great Lawn Games for Your Next BBQ.