I can hardly believe that we have reached the end of the school year. Some days, this year felt like the longest year EVER. Our kids and their teachers were thrown curve balls left and right, and I have to say, they handled them like absolute champs. Were there glitches here and there? You bet. Were there times that we were all frustrated? 100%. But, you have to admit, no one has ever rolled with the punches like educators and their students this year.
And parents! Yes, you! You were rock stars, too, this year. You took on roles that you never thought you would take on. And quite frankly, roles that you didn't want! No one blames you for that. Yes, you are the parent, but most of us did not sign on thinking that we would be homeschooling our kids, or monitoring them while they were learning remotely.
So, I think that we all deserve a celebration! I'm guessing that you have very little brain power left at this point, and you might be dreading having everyone home again after it feels like we just got them back in their desks at school, so I'm going to help you out. I like to think that I'm pretty darn creative when it comes to celebrations. So, buckle up, buttercups.... let's get our celebrations on!
CELEBRATE YOUR YOUNGER KIDS
- Chill out with some ice cream after the last day of school. Who doesn't love ice cream?
- Grab a friend or two, hit the park, and let the kids play!
- Popsicles. Need I say more?
- Gift your kids with a couple of brand new books they'd love for summer reading.
- Even better, give them a gift card to your local bookstore, and let them pick out their own!
- Pool toys or a summer fun tote make great end of year gifts, and give the kids something to look forward to.
- Create a coupon book full of fun things to do that your kiddos can cash in this summer. It's okay to set some boundaries for when these can be redeemed.
- A V-bucks gift card (or money to spend in the game that your kids play) is super exciting to a kid without a job!
- Design a t-shirt to wear on the last day of school. Or buy one. Your kids don't care!
- A picnic is always a hit with the kids, and it gives you a chance to reconnect with them after a busy year.
CELEBRATE YOUR TEENS
- Take them out to lunch. Maybe not on the last day of school, because they will want to hang with friends, but get a date on both of your calendars.
- Create a summer survival kit -- gum, some fun money, gift card to buy a new swim suit, fun nail polish, a hat they would like, Pit Vipers, hammock, Harry Styles magazine (just sayin'), etc.
- Gather up a basket of their faves.
- Restaurant gift cards or a little extra spending money for the summer are both appreciated by the teen crowd. Even a gas card is welcomed!
- Coupon books might seem silly to a teen, but not when they are filled with unusual "values"! Think out of the box for your teens and gift them things like:
- Get out of one summer activity that doesn't float your boat.
- Give one chore back to mom and dad for the week.
- Good for one free tank of gas.
- You pick the show for movie night with the fam.
- Choose a book that you enjoyed that your parents must read.
- One breakfast delivered in bed.
CELEBRATE YOUR TEACHERS
- Join forces with a few families and buy them a gift card to a nice restaurant so they can celebrate on someone else's dime.
- Create a summer survival kit for them -- restaurant gift card, favorite candy, favorite soda, an outdoor candle, a book you recommend.
- Scratch and win gift cards are inexpensive and a fun way to remind your teachers how lucky your kids were to have them this year.
- A special sweet is always a treat and the perfect way to celebrate (I recommend a Crumbl cookie or a Nothing Bundt Cake if you have one near you!).
- Do a little detective work and find out their favorites -- candy, drinks, snacks, pens, fast food, magazine, etc -- and gift them with one. Or a few.
- Ask your kids what their teacher likes to do for fun. They probably know! Then get them something that they can enjoy while doing that. For example, if your teacher loves to hike, you could get a Buff for around $20.
- Write them a note from the heart and tell them why you appreciated them this year. Be specific!
- Do something you enjoy BEFORE the kids are out of school. By yourself. Or with a friend. Whatever makes you happy.
- Gift yourself a little secret stash of treats that you enjoy. This can be food or nonfood items. When you feel like you might lose it this summer, remember that stash and take a moment to pick out a treat just for you.
- Set aside a few minutes every day for reading time this summer, and read a book, or magazine, or even Facebook. And force yourself to stick with it. Even little kids can do this for 15 minutes, and you will be happy that you took the time each day. Trust me.
- Schedule a date night with your partner, or a girls/guys night out, or both! And make it sooner rather than later!
- Write a list of things that you would like to do this summer and share it with your kids. You might be surprised at what they make happen for you!
No matter what you choose to do, make a point to do something to celebrate making it through this strange year!