"Remember Tristan, mom? From my preschool? He was so handsome." Lucy said as if this old love and preschool friend is now gone forever. She asks about school and various friends at least twice a day. Because we practically have our very own preschool in our family, I have to admit I haven't been very good at keeping up over the summer. The boys always had each other and never seemed to mind, but this girl of mine, she is a social little bug. It's hard for kids to understand that something they loved just stopped altogether, even if summer is distractingly fun.
We decided that maybe it was important to keep in touch as a reminder that friendships don't have to end even if we can't see and play with each other every day. Here are a few ideas to keep the school connections alive through out the summer.
Send a letter. Everyone loves to get mail, it's even better when there are stickers involved. Spend an afternoon making cards for various friends and teachers your child misses, take a trip to the post office and let her put the mail in the slot. Create a summer pen pal exchange. It will give your little one something to look forward to.
Make a friendship bracelet. Friendship bracelets are back, big time and even better than when we were kids. Our own Vickie Howell has a great tutorial of how to make them here. Younger kids can always use beads or dyed pasta to make something special for their missed friend.
Meet me on the playground. Schedule a playdate where it all began and is familiar. Lucy and her friends spent hours on the tire swing, it was the go-to on the playground. Grab some watermelon, sit in the shade and let the kids catch up together.
Make a memory book. Lucy's teacher put together a slide show of pictures from the school year on a DVD for the kids. She loves it and asks to watch it almost every day. You can take your own pictures and put together a small photo album with pictures and artwork for your child to flip through during a quiet time each day. Lucy ends up telling me stories of all the things she did and all she loved about her time at school.
Have an adventure together. Invite another family to join you in making a new memory outside of school. We are going camping with a family from Lucy's school later this summer. Family potlucks or a day hike may be good ways to connect, especially if you aren't ready to travel together.
Cultivating and maintaining friendships are important and great ways to teach kids to value those they care about beyond the stages of life they are in together. Truth be told, all this friend talk is inspiring me to pick up the phone and reconnect with those I've lost over the years.
Do your kids miss their friends from school? How do you help your kids maintain friendships over the summer? Share your ideas in the comments.