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Let’s be honest: the 2020-21 school year was anything but easy. The first full academic year during the Covid-19 pandemic presented some pretty tough and unprecedented challenges. From virtual learning and hybrid instruction to cancelled sports seasons and missed milestones, there’s been a lot to overcome.
“Kids are resilient,” says Dr. Kate Eshleman, a pediatric psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Instead of agonizing over what might have been had we not been locked down for a year, Dr. Eshleman advises acknowledging the difficulties we faced during the pandemic and moving forward.
So, how do we nurture resilience in our children? What does moving them forward look like? The answer to that question is different for every child. Experts agree that children who feel seen and supported are more likely to bounce back and adapt to a new normal.
End-of-the-school year celebrations have been gaining in popularity over the past decade. 2021 is definitely the year to lean into this new tradition of taking stock and looking ahead.
Here are some fun, affirming, age-appropriate activities to try after your children’s last week of school.
This is the age of foundational learning —reading, writing, and arithmetic— when children acquire basic skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Why not celebrate each child’s accomplishments with a School Year Walk of Fame?
Break out the construction paper and safety scissors and set up an arts and crafts station in the kitchen or backyard.
Use mDesign’s Large Art + Craft Supply Storage Tote Caddy to keep crayons, glitter, and glue easily accessible and contained in one place.
Take out a few sheets of construction paper and set one aside. Encourage each child to think about the positive things that happened in the past year and to write those highlights on construction paper, things like “read 4 books,” “aced a math test,” “helped my teacher with Zoom,” and so on.
Tape the construction paper to a pencil so it stands up like a sign or poster. Stick the signs in the grass beside a tree lawn, driveway, or parking lot. On the final sheet of paper, have the kids glue a star in the center. Then, use non-toxic paint to make handprints —just like a Hollywood celeb!
Invite family and friends to drive by the School Year Walk of Fame. A horn-honking car parade is a safe and socially distant way to celebrate your children’s achievements.
These are the years of independence…and insecurities. Junior high and high school aren’t just about learning facts; they’re a social space where tweens and teens develop the emotional intelligence (a key factor in resilience) needed to navigate life.
This year has seriously impacted young adults’ in-person social interactions and their understanding of themselves as members of a greater community. How do we offer them positive reinforcement as we transition out of the pandemic? A Scavenger Hunt!
There’s a fifty-fifty chance this Scavenger Hunt idea will be met with eye-rolls and more than a little attitude. That’s okay, because the point of this is to gently affirm the tweens and teens in your life with the positive interpersonal feedback they’ve been missing.
This Scavenger Hunt is all about showing them how much they know. Think —what’s the one thing your tweens and teens know better than anyone else —TikTok? Billie Eilish? Basketball? Create scavenger hunt clues based on the interests they’re passionate about.
Studies show a sense of mastery helps cultivate self-confidence. Simply put, reminding your tweens and teens that they’re good at stuff helps them through challenging times.
Make sure the scavenger hunt’s grand prize has something to do with their interest. For your budding TikTok choreographer? A necklace or bracelet commemorating their love of dance. Give this gift in a super fun mDesign Jewelry Organizer. It spins for easy access and its transparent design makes it great for displaying cherished jewelry.
Or for your favorite sneakerhead, let the clues lead to a new pair of kicks, artfully displayed on mDesign’s 4-Pair Shoe Rack. The sleek wall-mounted construction is a stylish way to display sneakers that also minimizes closet clutter.
By the way, organizers are a trendy alternative to wrapping presents, because you’re giving more than a gift —you’re giving a way to organize the things they care about.
If anyone got short-changed during the pandemic, it’s college seniors. A day they’d worked toward since kindergarten was abruptly taken away from them.
As lockdown eases and vaccinations rise, some universities are inviting 2020 college grads to this year’s commencement ceremonies, although social distancing requirements limit the number of attendees. That leaves some family and friends out of the celebration.
One way everyone can participate in making college grads feel special? Instagram!
“Doin’ it for the ‘Gram” has become a way of life; most people you know are already on the app. Simply make a hashtag for your college grad — think name, college, and year, like #MiKaylaOSU2020. Invite friends and family to post their inspirational quotes and favorite pictures. When your grad clicks on the hashtag, they’ll be overwhelmed by a sea of good wishes and love (awwww).
Another super cute way of letting grads know they’ve got a bright future ahead of them is a gift of shades. Style watchers predict dramatic, chunky frames will be all the rage when everyone’s out having post-pandemic summer fun.
Pick out a few funky pairs and present them in a Stacking Eyeglass Storage Organizer Box. It holds up to five pairs of glasses and it’s a great way to keep eyewear in one centralized location.
Check out upcoming mDesign blog posts, when we’ll show you some awesome organizing gifts for grads going out on their own!
Lisa Langford is a Senior Copywriter at mDesign
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Jun 3, 2021
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