Friday, August 15, 2008

Celebrate Summer While Welcoming Fall

I go through the same thing every year.

Part of me is sad to see summer end while another part of me craves having my family back on a regular schedule. It’s the yin/yang dance of organized and carefree natures trying to occupy the same space. Thankfully, there’s room for both, and we can help our kids recall all those fantastic summer memories while still building expectation for the wonder and fun that the back-to-school season brings.

Bulletin-Board Memory Lane: Buy a bulletin board and hang it in your kitchen or other common area of your home. Print some of your favorite summer photographs and tack them to the wall along with hand-written notes about what makes that picture so special.

To add even more journaling, consider buying a bulletin board that also has a dry-erase side; you can keep the conversations going by writing messages to one another about your summer trips and the photos displayed on the board. It can become an ongoing conversation and a great way to stay connected once the bustle of school starts.

After school starts, take pictures of the first day of school and add a few of those images to the board as well as a few pictures of your children’s friends. Now your kids can enjoy the end of one season and the beginning of another.

Mini-Scrapbook: If your children are a bit anxious about going back to school, print some photos and purchase up a mini scrapbook kit. Let them create their own ‘my favorite summer memories’ book to keep in their backpacks once the season starts. If you’d like to add the element of surprise, take a CD of your favorite images to your local photo store and have them print a mini photo book for you. Place the book inside your child’s backpack so she’ll find a nice surprise once she’s at school and getting settled.

“Why I Love This Picture…” Here’s a simple project that takes only a few minutes but is guaranteed to put a smile on your child’s face. Print your favorite summer pictures and keep them in the kitchen drawer with a pen. Each Monday, pick a photo and write a special message on the back of the picture to your child. You can create a new tradition, and you can be certain she’ll keep each one. Collect all these pictures at the end of the season and put them on a bulletin board or in a photo book for your child to treasure.

Trust me.

She will.

Back-To-School Back-Up Tip

I’m guessing you’ve got at least a hundred pictures from your summer adventures stored on your hard drive, right?

If that’s the case, it’s time to schedule a few minutes to back up those memories so they’ll be around to enjoy long after the weather cools and the leaves turn on the trees. If you haven’t downloaded those pictures off your camera, don’t sweat it. Take the camera to your favorite photo shop and have them copy all the images to a CD and order a set of prints.

After all, a printed photograph is the best back-up method, and you’re more likely to enjoy those images if they’re printed and hanging on your refrigerator than if they were stuck in a folder on your hard drive.