Graduation can be a difficult time for a parent.
Your child you have raised into a wonderful young person is now off into the real world, be it university or a job.
It can be heartbreaking to watch your child grow up.
Graduation can also be difficult for your other children, who are used to having their older sibling around. The graduation ceremony is an event, but preparing your whole family for upcoming change is a process.
Here are a few ways to make your older child’s graduation easier for yourself and your family.
Discussing Life Tips with your Teen
As your older child starts preparing for graduation, now is a good time to talk to them about their future. Let them know how proud you are of them.
Talk to them about the importance of hard work, especially in college and as they start their career. Tell them about the study tips that worked for you in college, like “Never study in your bedroom,” or “Don’t stay up too late, even if it is to study.”
Give them any tips you think they should know about living on their own. Make sure they feel confident in their cooking skills, and know how to cook vegetables in a way that tastes good to them.
Help your teen find ways to remember how to do important tasks they routinely ignore, like cleaning their room, or doing laundry. Have them set reminders on their phone to stay on top of these things, so they are in the habit before they leave home.
Reviewing Emotions with your Younger Children
Change is hard for everyone, but it is especially difficult for young children. To help your children adjust, talk to them about how to handle change.
Ask them how they are feeling about their sibling leaving. Let them express their feelings and help them deal with what they are feeling.
Help them brainstorm ways they can deal with their sibling leaving home. They can find a show to watch with their sibling over zoom. They can also make sure they keep in touch with their sibling through calls and texts.
Allow your younger children to express their feelings. Let them be angry or sad, although that does not mean they can throw a tantrum. Give them ways to appropriately express their feelings, by talking, drawing, or taking a walk outside to cool off. This will allow them to recognize how they feel without harming themselves, and help them deal with change.
Quality Time with the Whole Family
To help your family adjust to change, plan a few activities to do together before your oldest child leaves the nest. Ask your older child what they would like to do together as a family.
Go see a movie, go on a hike, or play board games together. If the activity goes well, you can try to make it a regular activity to do together even after your oldest leaves.
You can set up a time each week or month for family time, when everyone in the family joins in, including the ones that have moved out. You can have everyone play games or watch some TV over Zoom. It might be harder to get everyone together as they get older, but it is worth it when you can make it happen.
As your teen’s graduation comes closer, plan a day to celebrate their accomplishments with the whole family. Take pictures together, and a few of just your grad.
Let your graduate plan the day with activities they enjoy, and remember to document everything. This is a day you’ll all want to remember. Plus, if your teen decides they want to send out graduation announcements, you’ll have several recent photos to choose from.
Whether it’s eating ice cream, going bowling, or just having dinner together, your graduate will appreciate the celebration, and your whole family will enjoy themselves.
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Self-Care for Parents
Throughout all of this, please remember to take time for yourself as well. This is a stressful situation for your entire family, and that includes you too. Do things that you enjoy, without the kids.
Read a book, take a nap, or have a bath. Whatever it is, make sure you leave stress at the door and relax. Let yourself reset, and embrace calm. You’ll be much better equipped to handle everything after you do.
Despite all the difficulties, I hope you and your family are able to celebrate this exciting time in your life. It’s wonderful to watch your children grow, and see the adults they become.
As graduation comes closer, take time to take care of yourself, spend time with your family, and talk your kids through the upcoming changes. Your family will get through this just fine. Congratulations to you and your graduate!
Image Credit: preparing for your teen’s graduation by envato.com
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