Graduating from high school is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking, for both you and your teen. There’s a lot to get done during graduation season, from preparing for college to spending enough time with friends and family. Here’s a few tips to help you help your soon-to-be graduate.
As your teen’s graduation approaches, you may both be overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done before they leave for college. One of the first things you should do is start figuring out what they will need for school. Common needs are bedding, storage solutions like boxes or shelves, kitchen supplies, toiletries, electronics, and school supplies like textbooks and notebooks. Other necessities that depend on your teen’s individual situation are clothing for the climate, blackout curtains, and chairs or desks, depending on how their dorm is furnished and where they will be moving to. Make a list of the things you will definitely need to buy for college so you don’t end up wasting money on non-essentials. Ask your teen for their thoughts on what they would like to get before they go to school as well. Some fun decor items can help make their dorm feel more like home. Have a bit of money set aside for such items. Some things, like kitchen supplies and storage boxes can be bought at second hand stores at low prices. Electronics, on the other hand, are best bought new. Look for sales at your local electronics store, and keep in mind that new does not mean newest or best. You can get your teen a perfectly good tablet, laptop, or phone that came out last year. This means that your teen has new equipment to use in school, and you save money.
Before your teen moves out, go over tasks they may struggle with. Do they make trouble cooking, keeping things clean, waking up on time, or dealing with problems with living companions? Talk about these issues with your teen, and work on a way to resolve them before they leave the nest. Identify which difficulties are the most important to work on with your teen. Ask them how they want to get better at addressing these issues. Do they want to keep track of their progress in a journal? Set alarms on their phones to remind them to wake up and arrive on time to appointments? Or do they want to set goals for themselves and check in with you weekly on their progress? Ask your teen how you can help them stay focused on improving their lives, without nagging them. After all, you won’t be there in college to keep them on task. Find ways you can help them without providing too much support. Your teen may have some ideas on this. Maybe they will want you to check in with them periodically and ask how they are doing. Maybe they want to create a wall chart of their progress that both of you can see and keep track on. Or maybe your teen will want a buddy to work on goals with. You can both work on different goals together and check in each week on how you are both doing, and how you want to improve.
Even though there is a lot to do before your graduate leaves for college, make time to send out graduation invitations. It’s a great way to celebrate your teen’s accomplishments. Hire a photographer or take pictures yourself of your graduate. If you choose to take your own pictures, look up tips online to figure out how to take the best picture possible. Encourage your teenager to dress in a way that expresses themselves best for their photos. Once you’ve got your pictures, it’s time to choose announcement cards. Let your grad decide what cards they want. Or, you can even have your teen design their own announcements with Basic Invite. They have tons of designs, and you can customize your design to be exactly the way you want. Your teen will love sending out grad announcements they created themselves. They even have cheap graduation invitations, if you’re on a budget.
The last thing you want to do is spend plenty of time together while you can. After your high school grad goes off to college, it will get harder to stay in touch with them. It’s tough to transition from seeing them every day to seeing them twice a year. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of the time you have left. Take a vacation as a family. Go somewhere you’ve never been as a graduation present. Or, if you don’t have the time, take a day trip nearby. Wherever you live, there are bound to be a few places your family has never been able to properly explore. Visit that historical site the next town over, or go camping a few hours away. There are tons of options for nearby vacations. If you’re really short on time, plan a staycation. Go shopping as a family at your favorite mall, or visit that cool park you don’t go to enough. Have dinner at everyone’s favorite restaurant, and top it off with a well-loved movie at home. Whatever your budget or schedule, spend time with your teenager while they are still around. You won’t regret it.
Getting your teenager ready to graduate is really stressful. There is so much to think about and prepare for. If you focus on what needs to get done, you’ll get through it. Spend time with your grad, send out graduation announcements, help them improve and build confidence, and purchase the supplies they’ll need for college. You’ve both got this. Congratulations to you and your graduate!