Many, if not all, of this year’s 2020 high graduates probably won’t get to do the traditional cap and gown ceremony. And it also means that most likely there won’t be the big parties and other events to celebrate this important time in their lives.
But it doesn’t mean that this milestone occasion should go by without proper recognition. It may require a little out of the box thinking, but there is still plenty you can do to make them feel special.
Here Are a few ideas.
Creative Ways You Can Still Celebrate Your Graduate
Senior Yard Signs
Many high schools have been working with PTO’s to get senior yard signs made. If you’re school isn’t organizing this for your seniors, then you can still have one printed or even get a small group of your senior’s friend’s parents to do it together. Just contact a local print shop and most of them have the capabilities to pull together signs like these pretty quickly.
Adopt A Senior
Some high schools are initiating this and having kids from younger classes “adopt” seniors during this graduation month. But you could also coordinate with your church, your neighborhood, your extended family or even a friend group. The idea is that leading up to what would have been graduation, they send/drop off cards, balloons, treats and other small gifts recognizing their upcoming graduation and just letting them know people care.
One thing is for sure, these teens are definitely living in unprecedented times. It’s okay to use humor as a coping mechanism and what better way to express that humor than on a funny t-shirt. There are some really clever ones out there if you look around and whether it’s for the whole class or maybe just their friend group, it’s a way to bond via fashion statement.
Graduation Car Parades
There have been lots of car parades going on during this time to celebrate all sorts of different occasions. In general, most people are coordinating via FB or text and setting a time/place for everyone to line up. Cars are decked out with big poster signs, balloons and car safe paint greetings. As people roll by the person’s house they blare music and blow noise makers and shout out their best wishes.
BUT I’ve also seen a slight twist on this for graduates. Some people have actually had the graduates get all dressed up and put on those caps (and even gowns) and then driven a big group of graduates through neighborhoods with music and all the other fanfare.
Virtual Graduation Parties
Hey, if people are doing everything from happy hours to family reunions and other gatherings via Zoom, why not graduation parties. Plan a time, invite friends and family and set a theme. Have people wear clothes from their favorite colleges, dress up in their finest frocks or have it be a costume party.
To make it more interactive and meaningful, guests can take turns toasting the graduate, telling funny stories about them or passing on advice for the future. You can play trivia games or have everyone do some kind of activity together.
18 Days of Recognition
There are many variations on this theme, but most high school graduates will be 18 on or around the time of graduation. Some parents have done 18 days of gifts, giving their senior something small, but meaningful, for the 18 days leading up to their graduation. Some parents write them 18 memories and give them one each day and even others just write down 18 reasons that their graduate is special to them. You can do one or some combination of these. OR get others involved. Ask 18 people who are close to your graduate if they would send/drop off a card or small gift on one of the 18 days prior to their graduation.
Create A Graduation Video In Their Honor
Alright, if you are not a tech person, then you may need to recruit someone who is – a friend, a younger sibling, the neighbor’s toddler…. Ask friends and family to make short “congratulations” videos for your graduate. Make sure you specify that they shouldn’t be too long a minute or so at most. Have them text or email the videos to you. You could get even fancier by adding in still photos of your senior from each year of their life of from special moments. Put it all together and watch the video on what would have been the big day.
Oh, The Place You Will Go Surprise
While your senior has every right to feel frustrated and sad about the loss of these important milestone events, helping them to focus on the future might help lift their spirits. You can do this on your own or ask a small group of friends and family to consider sending gifts with the logo/name, etc from your teen’s future college. Hoodies, t-shirts, tumblers, notebooks, pens, hats. You can’t even begin to believe how much swag out there has college logos plastered on it.
Generally, yes, it’s rude to tell people what kind of gift to get for graduation. But these are not normal circumstances and hopefully they’ll think it is a fun idea. Collect all the gifts as they arrive and then plan a special dinner or small family party where your teen can open them all up. It will be a great way to get them excited about the next big chapter in their lives.
Graduation Scavenger Hunt (Photo Version)
Take a walk down memory lane with your teen by having them do a photo scavenger hunt. Send them in search of places that have particular significance in their life like their elementary, middle and high school and then have them snap a photo. What about their favorite restaurant or the field where they won their first big championship? Maybe there is a theater where they saw their first play or performed their first concert.
For more in-depth ideas, check out our Graduation Photo Scavenger Hunt post. There are free printables you can use and other fun ideas to go with it!
Raising Teens and Tweens is hard, but maybe some of these popular posts other parents found helpful can help make it easier.