With the world shut down and many of the usual options for celebrating unavailable, many parents wonder how to make their graduating kids feel special. Most seniors, if any, won’t get a typical graduation ceremony, not to mention having to cancel that graduation party they were really looking forward to. Then there’s not getting to hang out with friends, missing out on the rest of their senior year (what senior looks forward to their last prom?), and the list goes on. These challenges may seem trivial compared to what some face during this crisis, but with the time you have with them still at home limited, you want to build them up with positive, fun memories to lean on as they face the uncertain future as independent young adults. Let’s face it, though it’s fun, making the transition into adulthood is already challenging (and sometimes lonely) enough without a global pandemic going on!
So how can you celebrate your senior in a memorable way (and that’s memorable in a good way)? Whether you’re a grandparent, neighbor, teacher, or parent, this list of 10 great ways to show your support is sure to have a fun idea that works for you! What’s more, many of them get your senior’s friends involved (don’t worry, it’s risk free!).
1. Friend Video Collage
Young adults thrive on interactions with their friends and peers. Though these friendships may have become long distance (if 6 feet is long distant now), virtual togetherness is still a great option. Reach out to your son or daughter’s friends and have each of them take a short video of themselves with a fun message for your senior. This should be a breeze for tech savvy teens. Their message could be anything you think your kid needs to hear at this time.
One idea is to have each friend share their favorite memory with them, or play some kind of “who knows _insert_name_ the best” game. For the latter, create 10 fun questions about your senior, then have each friend video themselves answering that question to the best of their ability. When you compile the videos, make sure to arrange it so that the responses to each question are all together. It’s easiest if his/her friends take a separate video for each question to keep video editing to a minimum. And be creative with the questions you choose! What do you think will evoke some funny (or sincere) responses your senior would appreciate and might surprise their friends? Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
What is _insert_name’s middle name?
What do you think _insert_name_’s greatest accomplishment was this year? (this may not have a right or wrong answer!)
What are you personally most proud of _insert_name for?
Where was _insert_name born?
What will you miss most about _insert_name after high school?
Consider having your senior do the same for their friends as a thank you!
2. Fun Food Surprise
Got a constantly hungry senior boy? They may appreciate this next one then! Make food fun by ordering a pizza with something fun spelt out with the toppings such as “Congrats _insert_name!” or “Go Cougars” (or whatever their college mascot will be). Make sure to call ahead to ask that the employee adds your personalization to the pizza. When the doorbell rings with the delivery, ask your senior to answer the door. You can even act surprised when you see that it’s a pizza. Make sure they are the ones to open the box!
3. Party in a box
Decor Dash’s new “Party in a Box” is the perfect way to make your senior feel special at graduation time. Since you probably won’t be having the large gathering you may have planned, this setup is intended to serve as a fun (perhaps surprise) family home party. The black and white option is the most popular and versatile because it can be used for any school, while still having a bit of personalization such as the fun cupcake stickers. Girls and guys will both love this classy black and white look! Make it a family party by setting up the decorations when your son or daughter isn’t home and even better, skype some close family and friends who can’t be there physically.
A super fun way to look back on fond memories with your graduate is with a slide show. Round up some pictures of your kid with family, and even enlist the help of their friends again (who definitely will have a picture or two of their own!). You may not be ready to let the tears flow, but setting the slideshow to music is a great way to add some power as you reminisce. Here are some great song ideas:
Little Wonders by Rob Thomas
See You Again by Charlie Puth
I Hope You Dance by LeeAnn Womack
5. Family Graduation Ceremony
You may have seen one or two of these already, but setting up a family graduation ceremony will no doubt make your graduate feel recognized and super special. Especially if you go all out with a program and all the things you’d typically get in a real ceremony. And who better to speak at such a ceremony than the people who really know your graduate the best?! So what are the important parts of a graduation ceremony? The following list may be helpful (but feel free to put your own spin on it!):
A stage. Though it may seem like an unimportant aspect of graduation, going through the effort of creating a realistic setting will no doubt impress your kid, not to mention, who doesn’t envision walking across a stage at the time of their graduation? That being said, use what you have!
Chairs. Set up enough chairs for the family in a row. You may even leave a gap in the middle for your graduate to walk down to receive his or her “diploma”.
A diploma. Click here for a free high school diploma template.
Cap & gown. Encourage your senior to decorate their cap if that’s up their alley.
Decorations. The previously mentioned Party in a Box by Decor Dash makes a classy, economical graduation set up. A great place to set it up is on top of your makeshift stage or off to the side for the food table.
A program. Have a sibling or parent speak about the things they are most proud of your graduate for, why they’re excited for their next stage of life, and maybe some words of wisdom.
Food. This is a step up from a regular graduation ceremony! Enjoy a simple cake, or cookies after the program. It could even be regular dinner spiced up with the use of their university colors.
6. Yearbook alternative
In addition to making a slideshow, your kid may enjoy receiving a tangible “yearbook”. You could even use the same pictures and simply add some fun backgrounds and captions. Have fun playing around with pages usually included in a yearbook such as designations such as “cutest couple”, “most spirited”, “biggest flirt”, “life of the party”, “most likely to succeed”, “class clown”, and the list goes on and on. You could even add some superlatives unique to this time such as “most likely to catch Corona” or “most likely to get arrested before quarantine ends”. Make it even funnier by having a photoshoot in which your kid strikes a funny pose or uses funny props for each designation. Have your graduate’s friends “sign” the yearbook by sending you a picture of a little note.
7. Have a themed dinner for their college
In addition to looking back on the past, a fun way to celebrate this time of life with your senior is to look to the future. If they are going to college after graduation, you can set up a dinner with their new college as a theme. Use the school colors and mascot in the food and decorations.