There are certain big events in everyone’s life that we take the time to really celebrate and even get others involved so create spectacle and ceremony for the commemoration of that event. Marriages and funerals are perfect examples of huge life events that are so important in the life of those involved and in the life of the family and the community that we even get the church involved to place their blessing on the event.
Days like this almost always mark a transition from one phase of life to the next phase. Graduations from high school or college are celebrated with great joy because they take a young person into the next big step of maturity and responsibility. The celebration and the spectacle that we build around these big events help the one going through the transition make that jump and start this new exciting phase of life with enthusiasm and the blessing of the ones that love them.
If you have a child who is rapidly approaching the start of kindergarten, in her own little way, that event is just that kind of transition. This is the end of babyhood and infancy and the beginning of childhood for that little boy or girl. And the more we make that first day of kindergarten exciting and special and celebrate its coming, the more we help that young student get launched in style and be off and running.
They say that anticipation is 90% of the fun of any big day. And by planning a big party to launch your child into kindergarten, you replace any sense of dread or fear with that excitement about the fun of that event. Now, obviously you will plan the celebration for the day or weekend before the actual first day of school. But position it as close to the first day of school as possible so there is little time for “let down” between the party and that moment when that child actually sets out on her first big day in kindergarten.
Get as many of the child’s loved ones in on the act as you can. Not only should you plan to bring in her friends and siblings but cousins, aunts and uncles and grandpa and grandma if that’s possible to all congratulate the child in advance on the big adventure she is about to set out upon. Children universally love a party, especially if it is in their honor so a cake with candles, balloons and presents make the celebration festive for everyone.
Now if you chose to go with presents, they should all center around the event. Children already have Christmas and their birthdays to get presents so gifts should focus on that first day of school. Appropriate gifts might be a lunch box, a backpack, a very nice set of crayons and other education related presents. But by wrapping these things up so there can be a gift opening ceremony, the festive nature of the day is enhanced because children love to open gifts.
It is entirely appropriate also for there to be some somber moments and if you do wish to bring in church people or clergy so add their prayers and blessings to the event, that will be a meaningful moment the child will think about often and for a long time into the future. Dad, you can give a speech about how proud you are of your baby boy or girl. But make it short and keep the party fun and moving along so everybody has a great time.
As with all big events, pictures are a great idea. In fact, in advance of the party, if you start that kindergartner-to-be to work creating a memory book of the event, you can show her how to scrapbook special photos and mementos not only of the party before she heads out to school but of that big day itself. What a wonderful memory it will be if mom can get a picture of her angel walking into class for the memory book.
Then as the year moves along, special projects, assignments and other keepsakes from that first year of school can go in the memory book and make it special. All of these special touches will make the first day of school exciting and help that big transition to launch your child into a great first year of her academic life.