Ah, the last day of school! An event that is anticipated by kids and parents alike. For the kids, it's all about excitement. For the parents, it's a mixed bag - relief that there will are no school lunches to pack for the next six weeks but possibly also panic about how the work-kid juggle will be managed.
In all the anticipation of the holidays ahead - and in fog of end-of-year exhaustion - it can be easy to forget to embrace the last day of school by having some fun.
Here are six things ways to celebrate this milestone day.
- Celebrate: Go out for ice-cream and declare it double-scoop day. That's an order for everyone – including you! You have also made it through to the end of another school year.
If ice-cream's not your thing, substitute hot chips, milkshakes or whatever treat floats your family's boat. The same rules apply – all enjoy a celebratory serving.
- End of year photo: Take a photo that you can later compare with the one you took on the first day of school, all those months ago. Don't insist on beautiful smiles for this one; make it a silly one and let them pull weird faces.
Embrace the end-of-year messiness, the worn out school bag and the slightly too-small uniform. Allow any fatigue to show through. It will make a great contrast with the neat hair, new uniform, carefully posed shot that you took back in February.
- Get wet: In our lucky country, the end of the school year coincides with warm, long days. Walk home via the beach, the river, or the local pool and let the kids jump in in full uniform. Why? Why not!
There's plenty of time for the uniforms to be washed and dried before next year and it will make for an end-of-year day to remember.
- Brainstorm blitz: Go crazy with ideas about what you could do over the holidays. On this day, the holidays seem endless and full of potential fun. Let the kids come up with wild plans and possibilities. Join in too, maybe adding in some parent-centric options and ideas inspired by the summer holidays of your childhood.
Set up the discussion with traditional brainstorming rules - no idea is too bizarre or silly. Sure, most of the things you discuss will never happen but you'll have some fun thinking about it and, you never know, you might just uncover some great ideas to kick start your holiday plans.
- Extreme haircut: This is the time to indulge any radical haircut fantasies that you've been refusing to consider all year. If there have been desires for buzz-cuts, tracks, asymmetrical styles or a super-short bob, this is the time to give it a go.
Short styles are easier to manage over the summer and there are six to eight weeks for anything too radical to grow out before school returns. Maybe even a splash of colour for those (kids and parents) who are brave enough?!
- Forget the unpacking chore: Don't unpack the school bag! There's plenty of time to sort through and look at all the work that's been dragged home. The accumulated surprises that lurk at the bottom of the bag (blunt pencils, USB sticks, forgotten notices…) can wait for another day.
Oh, actually, revise that. Definitely unpack any food. These are my words of wisdom after once discovering an uneaten banana in a school bag on the last day of the summer holidays! Ignore the rest, but do unpack the food…
The last day of school is a milestone that kids only get to enjoy 13 times in their life. Wishing you a happy last day of school and relaxing and fun-filled holiday!