The final bell goes, the doors fly open and your little cherubs run out of the classroom, excited to have the whole of the summer holidays stretching out in front of them. To them right now it feels like a lifetime. To parents right now, it feels like a lifetime too! Six, seven and for some even nine long weeks!
Laden down, arms full, they run towards you and you know you have more than one nightmare to face in the coming days and weeks and you sort through the disarray of the end of one year and try to get your head around preparing for the start of a fresh term in just six weeks time.
Here are 5 steps not to avoid the inevitable but how to cope that little bit better this week as term end approaches!
1 Be an Art Critic/Curator
You know when you're asked to bring in a 'lifetime shopper' to help your child bring home all their 'creations' you're facing a tough emotional battle caught between your heartstrings and the bi! Oh yes, it's time for the the annual pile of art and crafts. As much as you love your child and of course, recognise the creativity and effort that has clearly gone into producing this ENORMOUS pile of painted, glittered and glued sugarpaper they proudly walk out with, there is only so much crap one home can store! Filtering through the artwork pile is always an emotional affair so ensure you are pumped full of energising caffiene, pick a positive moment when you are feeling strong and decisive and definitely, definitely, don't do it when said child is around! Find yourself a suitable keepsake box or folio to protect and store all the best pieces - those you think you'd still feel attached to, or proud of, in ten years time and particularly any that you have had a running commentary on during the creative production. The rest, bin. The job is made all the easier if you strike as soon as the sugarpaper mountain crosses the threshold (it's also useful to check bin day is close by too!) and definitely if you are pre-organised and planned where and how you are going to store the chosen items.
2 Start sorting the uniform early!
Paint stained shirts, thread bare socks, not to mention jumper sleeves half way up their arms and trousers half way up their legs. For most schools, uniforms cost next to nothing these days so be brave, be bold and ditch what you know is now below par. Be ruthless and even before they stumble over their crumpled up uniform on the floor for the last time this week, make sure you have a good idea which items to chuck and replace and which ones need carefully washing and putting away. Definitely don't leave the garment audit till the week before new term starts when every size you want will have sold out for sure. And don't be depressed about throwing any items away that now don't fit or are a little threadbare. If you don't have a younger child to pass them on to, consider a School Keepsake Bear made from all their old uniform garments. Especially for school leavers or those moving up from Prep or Key Stage One. A School Uniform Keepsake Bear will make replacing worn uniform a little easier and bring a cool new addition to the family for the start of the new term.
3 An A* Idea
This week we were moved to tears reading our little boy's Year 2 report. To hear someone else saying nice words about him was really amazing, and for once it wasn't about football (though of course it mentioned it!) The end of year means Report time and whilst 'little Johnny' just wants to know whether the treat he's been promised from Grandma is on the horizon, in years to come he will be sure to thank you for storing his milestone documents in a safe place. Starting a keepsake box devoted to school is a great way to look after what will soon become priceless momentos of a time that goes too fast, but it also takes the hassle out of wondering what the hell to do with it each year!
4 Milestones and Momentos
Certificates, Report Cards, House Points, Teacher's Recommendations, Swimming Certificates, Cycling Proficiency Badges, and so it goes on and on. Our once stylish designer bowl on our kitchen worktop was literally spilling over with bits and bats of items from school that were hugely important on that particular day and so we had to keep them, but as time went by they just became an irritant when you were looking for car keys, pound coin or stamps! In years to come, they will once again become hugely important when your little one flies the nest and all you have are memories of a chaotic, untidy house, stuffed with momentos of school achievements! A Certificate Wallet or Keepsake Box can once again take the hassle out looking for somewhere to store the items and will keep them safe for you or your child to look back on. So many keepsake boxes these days are stylish and presentable so will save you stuffing things away in the Burmuda Triangle at the back of the utility cupboard or wardrobe. Plus, you'll always be able to find a spare quid and see your bowl again!
5 There's only 12!
As you face what to do with mountain of artwork, the too small, too worn, too scuffed uniform and the piles and piles of bric a brac and paperwork amassed over this last school year, remember you only have to do this 12 times. Just 12. And in realising that, perhaps the task of sorting out the year end might not seem such a big mountain to climb afterall. In 12 short years, school may have finished forever for your child. No more uniforms to wash, no reports to look forward to or dread and by then they will no doubt be throwing away their own crappy artwork or certificates. Those are the days we should perhaps be thinking about this week because those are the days we could be rummaging through the keepsake boxes, opening their art folio cases to enjoy their masterpieces and especially cuddling their old school uniform keepsake bears.
Enjoy this week.
Enjoy yesterday everyday.