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How To Survive Your Child’s Last Year of High School

How To Survive Your Child’s Last Year of High School

boy hugging parent graduating high school

My child graduated from high school last May. I have many friends who are now beginning the year I just survived… the last year of their child’s childhood. At least that’s how we parents tend to look at it because we know that once they go off to college, that’s the practical beginning of their adult life.

Having survived the majority of the year, I thought I’d share some tips for those of you starting the year for yourself.

Advice for Parents of Seniors for Their Last School Year at Home

Keep your calendar organized.

Know all of the important dates before the school year starts. Application deadlines, scholarship deadlines, orientation events at your child’s choice college, and any graduation events at the high school.

Diploma Pic


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As soon as your child decides on a college, or even narrows the choices down, make sure you look at their calendar for any extra events they may do for prospective students or events your child may want to enjoy knowing they’ll be participating the following year. This really only works for universities or schools within driving distance, but it will be a great experience for you both. If your child is going to be active in sports at college, going to the Homecoming game will be a blast. If they’re artistically inclined, find a big concert or play the school puts on. These type of events are not necessarily organized for prospective students, but that’s why you should try to find something like that to enjoy. It really gets their excitement level elevated if it wasn’t already.

Photograph everything.

Every game. Every competition. Every performance. You can not get enough pictures of your child’s senior year of high school. You will most definitely make your child crazy but that’s a small price to pay for the captured memories.

Be patient.

Remember how stressed out your child is going to be this year. They are battling tons of emotions: saying goodbye while simultaneously embarking on a new journey. Allow them their mood swings.

Double graduation for our house this week!
Double graduation at our house!

Take advantage of any downtime.

I was amazed at how fast this year went by and how little (if any) one-on-one time my child and I had this year. If I found us with a day where he had no plans for work, or studying or friends, I did my best to adjust my life to take advantage of that. Take your child to a movie of their choice, or to a meal at the restaurant of their choosing. The few chances you get to do that in your last year will help you when they’re off at school.

Get the logistics of graduations in stone before the day arrives.

What time are you going to get there? Where are you going to meet afterward? When are you going to do Cap and Gown photos because many schools collect them immediately after so you’ll need to do them before. Graduation day is very hectic, plan as much of it in advance as possible.


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Enjoy it all.

My son blew my mind this year with how much he juggled. He worked 30 hours during exam week! Even though I didn’t get to see him much, I did my best to enjoy watching him climb the mountain and overcome the obstacles along the way. Try your best to do the same. But also allow yourself tears. Because it is a chapter in your child’s life that is now over, and it’s okay to cry a little.

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This article was originally published in 2013 & has been updated.


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