In the past few months, everybody has had to make many adjustments to their routine for the safety of themselves and others. For your child, this has meant staying home for months, away from their school and friends. As the impact of coronavirus continues to hold an indefinite timeline, your children may be bracing for a summer break that feels different from the ones they have experienced in the past.
While the transition to summer may seem less climactic this year, you can still make it special by celebrating the end of the school year at home and getting them excited about the summer. To get you started, we put together a list of ideas you can use to help make this transition to summer break special for your child while staying safe.
Celebrate the end of the school year
Your child is completing a school year through uncertain conditions and an atypical learning environment. What an achievement. This calls for a celebration!
Here are some ways you can celebrate the end of the school year with your child.
- Gift local. If you plan on giving your child a gift to celebrate the end of the year, consider shopping local. Many small businesses in Toronto are offering contactless pickup and/or delivery, making them a safe place to shop. You can start browsing at one of these shops:
- Crywolf for limited edition clothing & accessories.
- Scout for gifts (think: games, accessories, and home goods) made by Canadian and independent makers.
- Curiosa for enchanting items you did not know you were looking for.
- Dufflet Pastries for some of the most delicious sweets Toronto has to offer.
- Bunner’s Bakeshop for one of the best vegan and gluten-free dessert shops in town.
- Throw a graduation party. If they are in Grade 8 or Grade 12, make graduation official with an at-home ceremony and celebration. Here are some ideas you can incorporate into the big day:
- Rent a graduation cap and gown. And get everyone at home to dress for the occasion!
- Get “Class of 2020”-themed treats and decorations.
- Create a print-out ceremony program with a schedule and list of graduates.
- Ask loved ones to send their congratulations and make a collage or video montage using all of the messages.
- Prepare a commencement speech or ask somebody special to deliver one virtually.
- Transform their workspace into “summer mode”. If your child has a certain workspace they used for school – like a desk in their room or a certain spot in the house – consider transforming it to “summer mode”! First, put away all those school materials. Then, turn that workspace into a place where your child can relax. Or, dedicate it to one of your child’s interests. For example, if they love to read, you can add a comfortable bean bag chair or pillow and some reading socks. If they enjoy painting, you could place an easel there and bring in a new set of paint.
A celebration is a great way to mark the end of a successful school year. To help make the transition to summer smoother, you can also suggest some activities to keep your child busy throughout the summer.
Get your kids excited about the summer
A great way to help get your child excited about the summer is to give them something to look forward to. The type and frequency of activities you plan will depend on your child. What are their interests? What kinds of activities would they be interested in engaging in with people at home?
If they are open to engaging in some at-home activities, these are some ideas you can propose during the summer break.
- A “staycation”. Instead of going abroad, take your family vacation at home. One idea is setting up a tent in the living room or backyard. If you can, make s’mores and hot dogs over a fire, too!
- At-home summer camp. Schedule an at-home summer camp for a week late in the summer. Take the time leading up to it to plan special activities and to get your child excited about it.
- Themed days. Plan activities around a topic to explore the relevant history, foods, and activities. To spark some inspiration, here are some topics you can use:
- A country. If your day was about Japan, you can try making traditional dishes together like maki and tempura. After eating, you can introduce yourselves to Japanese cinema by watching a film like Spirited Away.
- A time period. For example, you can explore Ancient Greek times. Get dressed in a tunic made of flat sheets and start your day with teganites for breakfast. Compete in hoop rolling using a hula hoop or bike wheel. For lunch and dinner, incorporate bread, figs, and olives. Close out the night with a movie about Ancient Greece such as Troy.
- An entertainment series. If your family is a fan of Lord of the Rings, dress up in middle-earth attire, marathon the series, and have seven hobbit meals or snacks throughout the day.
- Empower your child to plan an activity. Adolescents like to put their independence into action. If they are interested, give your child the power to plan an activity for your family to participate in.
This list of suggestions should help get you started in your brainstorm for how to uniquely engage with your teen. But remember: your teen is a teen! If they prefer to hang out online with friends for most of the summer, that is okay. Do not feel pressured to make or break your child’s summer. They want to be independent, so let them lead the way and just support them and make suggestions when it feels right.
These are some of the many ways to make this transition to summer a special one. Just because this summer is going to be different, that does not mean it cannot be eventful.
This stay-at-home situation is temporary and things will get back to normal soon. In the meantime, stay up to date with the official City of Toronto COVID-19 updates and stay safe!