Let’s play a game: Raise your hand if you love the last day of school. Raise your hand if you have the end of the school year blues. Now guess how I feel about the school year ending… I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t an overwhelming sense of joy and excitement.
I used to wonder, “Is it normal to feel sad on the last day of school?”
As a child I felt anxious during the weeks leading up to the end of the school year. Who really likes saying goodbye to their favorite teachers and friends? I did not find the prospect of an unknown future as exciting as one would think. Summer was always three months of possibilities and a new school year is just as ambiguous.
As a parent I feel the SAME way about unknowns in life (enter: catastrophic anxiety). Thankfully, my adult end of the school year blues always fade as quickly as they appear. Once my daughters have their last day of school, I try to focus on the positives of summertime. Vacations, pool days, the ice cream truck and s’mores at our fire pit are just a few of the fun things our family looks forward to every summer. We live in a great neighborhood with lots of kids to play with too – so I know the girls won’t be lonely.
Another reason I become emotional at the end of the school year is because it is a big milestone in motherhood. My children officially complete a full year of their education – a year in which they grow and change SO much. I know I am not alone in that I am always hoping time would slow down (especially when it comes to my children getting older).
When it all comes down to it, I’m so thankful to be able to watch my children complete a year of school. I’m proud of everything the girls’ accomplish and feel privileged to see them learn and master new skills. Every part of Motherhood is a gift – even the stuff that feels heavy and sentimental.
Kids Feeling Sad at the End of the School Year
The future can be scary when you’re a child, especially when you know after a few months at home you will be going to a new grade in a new school. Annabelle finished second grade in the lower elementary school yesterday and will be moving to third grade in the upper elementary school in the fall. Ailey is leaving her current school as well to go to Kindergarten in September. Unfortunately the sisters won’t be together because our town splits K-5 into two different schools (a divide I do not support for so many reasons).
After speaking with Annabelle, Ailey, and their friends, I have learned it is more common to be sad about school ending than you think! Here is what they had to say:
Annabelle – I am kind of sad but also kind of happy. I’m sad about leaving my school and teachers, but excited to learn something new in third grade. It was hard to say goodbye to my school and I’m worried about making new friends in third grade.
Friend 1 (Kindergarten) – I cried today when I left school because I’m going to miss my teacher.
Friend 2 (Second Grade) – I wish I could stay in my school for third grade in my same class because I loved this year so much.
Ailey – I don’t want to leave my school and friends at all. I don’t want to go to Kindergarten.
Most of what the children are feeling is normal and I’m working hard to talk to my girls’ about their emotions. A lot of the uneasiness stems from the big changes that come with school ending. Children thrive on routines and schedules and summer is a huge shift from how they have spent the last nine months.
7 Ways to Beat the End of School Year Blues
Scholastic has a great article for parents with 7 Ways to Beat the End of School Year Blues. I will be trying out all of these tips over the next week.
- Schedule play dates.
- Create a summer bucket list – we are updating our Fun Things We Want to Do this Summer List this weekend!
- Do an investigation about the new school year ahead – find out what fun things your child will be doing!
- Visit your school playground for a summertime recess.
- Participate in summer learning programs. Our local library has lots of fun activities for students with prizes for time spent reading!
- Play THREE THINGS – Have your child list his top three moments from the past year and three things to anticipate in the next year. Talking about feelings is so important!
- CELEBRATE! There are so many fun ways to celebrate the end of the school year! Check out my post for ideas.