What is your end of school tradition?
Those who knew my children growing up could easily answer that question. It’s ice cream! Our family has ice cream for dinner on the first and last days of school every year. It was fitting that our oldest served ice cream sundaes at her graduation party.
Two intentional ideas were wrapped up in this end of school tradition. We were building family memories, and we were having intentional table talks. “How was school today?” will get you the typical “fine” answer, but put ice cream in a kid’s hand and ask “what was your favorite project this school year” and you’ll likely get an answer that’s more than a word long. And you’ll likely get questions from other parents about why you are giving your kids ice cream for dinner.
Since we were not a family who ate dessert after dinner on a regular basis, this is the stuff memories are made of. And who wants to feel overstuffed after a meal. Not me. So when the kids were younger, ice cream was the meal. As they grew older, the ice cream tradition remained strong but sometimes it followed dinner or was eaten with hearty appetizers. Sometimes we went out and sometimes we bought a tub of our favorite flavor.
Talking about the start and end of school in a casual way gave me lots of insight into how my children thought of school, what their challenges were, and what they were looking forward to doing next. Asking a couple of intentional questions helped them process the day and even the year. The way you ask the questions can help tailor joy in everyday situations and celebrate the growth of the year.
This week marks the end of the youngest child’s undergrad courses. Guess how she’s celebrating? That’s right! She’s going to ice cream with her friends after the last one finishes exams. My daughters continued the ice cream tradition through college!
Read below for a few table talk questions to ask at your end of year celebrations.
Table Talk: What was your favorite project/assignment this year? What project/assignment do you hope to never have to do again? What are you looking forward to learning/doing next year that you couldn’t do this year? What do you hope next year’s teacher knows about you?