Graduations are a big deal in any household, but typically only when students graduate from high school and/or college. Even kids that graduate from VPK are celebrated more often than other graduates, but that leads me to discuss something that came up recently at our weekly dinner with our best friends. Their son graduated from kindergarten yesterday, and they brought up the number of graduation parties that the parents of kids in his class were throwing. They didn’t even throw him a VPK graduation party (we did for our oldest daughter and we will for our other daughter next year when she graduates VPK…and the twins in a few years) and they certainly have no intention on throwing him a kindergarten graduation party.
We began discussing the relevance of one and what it means. In my own opinion, kindergarten is school and it does not mark anything special. One could argue that VPK graduation is not any more important, but it feels important because it feels like a celebration of the fact that your child is now ready to begin his or her official school career – and another grad party will occur following high school.
In short, I don’t feel that a graduation party for a kindergartener is necessary or even wise. You should make a big deal out of your kid graduating kindergarten, of course, but not so much that you should throw a party or give gifts or make a huge deal of it in that manner. Of course, my opinion could differ from yours, so let’s weigh the pros and cons of a kindergarten graduation.
Who doesn’t love a party?
Gifts are always nice.
It’s an excuse to get together and hang out around the pool with good friends, family, food and beverages.
Your kid is going to start expecting a party every year.
It provides a false sense of “Go you,”
It’s a waste of time, money and effort
So there you go. Make a big deal out of it with a party if you must, but I really believe that kindergarten is just regular school and should be commemorated like regular school is. Because once your child goes into first grade, is her or she going to expect a party and gifts at the end of the year. Probably; but it’s not really customary.
Of course, there’s no reason you cannot make a big deal of kindergarten graduation at home. Why not make it a family event in which you take your little one out to his or her favorite restaurant, or present him or her with something cool to mark this passage in life, such as a trip to the bookstore for a new book since now he or she can read like a champ? Why not have a family day to celebrate the onset of summer? How about a sleepover with the grandparents or with cousins or close friends at home so that your kids can have a great night and a fun gathering without making other parents feel the pressure of bringing gifts and celebrating something else?
There are already so many celebrations that occur during the year, one more is more of a burden than an exciting venture for many. Let’s go there for a second; how many free weekends do you really have throughout the year now that you have kids? I know, speaking for me and my family, we have none. Our weekends are usually booked out months in advance. In fact, we just had to book a weekend four months from now for a boat day so we can scallop and jet ski and do all that fun stuff with just the adults – no kids! – and that’s not because we needed time to find sitters; that’s because our group of four couples with kids is booked solid until then. Mostly with one another doing things like parties and vacations, but still; it’s almost sad and pathetic.
When a group of adults has to get together at Sunday night dinner with their calendar apps open and sync their schedules with one another (concert this weekend, vacation next weekend, birthday party that weekend, Gator charity event that weekend, so and so’s birthday that weekend) so that we all have everything penned in and not one weekend is free for four months, well, it just goes to show you that there is just too much going on in life. There are no last minute weekends away.
So for the sake of all the people in your life (and yourself, really) don’t make such a big deal out of kindergarten graduation. You have all the time in the world to make a big deal of it later on, so why bother with it now? You can do something as a family. Have some fun and do something that your kids will enjoy, but you don’t have to do something that will take up everyone else’s precious time. Remember; this is graduation season and that means that people aren’t looking to go to another graduation.
So in short; kindergarten graduation seems like a great time to do something as a family. But it’s not the time to invite friends and other family members (grandparents, on the other hand, eat this kind of stuff right up). It’s not a time to ask for gifts or expect people to go out of their way. Make it about your family and your child. Make it something special or your child, but not for everyone else.
Our suggestion to you is to let your little one pick a way to spend the day now that he or she is an official kindergarten graduate, and choose something fun you can do together as a family without actually doing anything too major. It’s a nice way to spend some quality time together without overdoing it. Save that for the Sweet 16 or the high school graduation; you’ll have plenty of time to throw parties.
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