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3 simple ways to celebrate the end of the school year and the start of summer

sunset illustration

The pace of life at this point in the year can be extremely busy and it can seem like the end of the school is the finish line you just need to cross (and then collapse). However, for your children, it is the completion of a year of learning, growing and often a lot of hard work. It is important to celebrate the completion of another year with your children and to also get ready to switch gears into summer. Here are 3 simple ways to celebrate the end of the school year and get summer off to a good start.

Celebrate accomplishments

Help your children think about one thing they accomplished or are proud of this school year and celebrate it. My fourth grader learned cursive and is so proud of the work she put into her new fancy handwriting, so I will have her write her full name with her cursive writing to capture her impressive new skill and then she can keep it on her bulletin board. Be creative in thinking how to celebrate their accomplishment and get their ideas as well.

Talk about the tough parts of school

Recognize the hard parts of the school year and discuss what might make it easier next year. School has tough moments too – hard subjects, struggles with friends, juggling schedules and different learning styles can all create frustrating moments for kids. Talk about what was challenging this year and see if there are things that can help make it easier next year. If reading was really challenging during year, perhaps be intentional about finding a reading program at a library or your school to help keep skills they learned. Find some fun ways to encourage reading, like building a reading tent or special space in your house, finding a library program where you can read with a dog or read together as a family.

Make a simple family summer wish list

Think of one thing each family member would like to do this summer and try to make it happen! This time of year, lots of summer bucket lists pop up with 50 or more different things you can this summer. While those lists can be fun and thought provoking, they can also create stress in trying to create a perfect summer full of activities. Instead of creating a long list, ask each family member to think about one thing they would like to do this summer (be realistic- don’t everyone pick going on a week-long vacation). Try to think of something you could do in a few hours or a day. Write those on a paper or put them up where you can see them. The first time someone says they are bored…that person can pick one of the activities and make a plan on how you can do it as a family!


Judy Schmidt provides leadership to 4-H metro programming in Peoria County. Schmidt joined Extension in 2001, working as a Youth Development Educator at the East Peoria Center and joined the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell unit in 2011. Her work focuses on 4-H youth development programming in the local metropolitan area, specifically leading positive youth development initiatives for after-school programs, community groups, 4-H clubs and other youth-serving organizations. Her areas of expertise include positive youth development principles, youth leadership, and work with teens as teachers.

Schmidt attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her bachelor's degree in psychology and also for her master's degrees in Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a certified facilitator of the Matrixx System/Real Colors program by the National Curriculum and Training Institute.


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