A teen’s senior year of high school is full of many emotions–anticipation, excitement, nerves, stress. And, traditionally, senior year encompasses a multitude of rites of passage–from last sporting events and final performances to final exams, senior projects, and, of course, senior prom!
High schools do their best to provide both seniors and their parents with calendars and schedules of events, but activities just seem to pop up and can easily take over a family’s schedule or calendar.
If your senior has younger siblings, it can be particularly important to be mindful of balancing your senior’s obligations with your family’s needs and schedule.
Read on for some tips you can use to help make the most of your teenager’s senior year and balance all the milestones you won’t want to miss in this busy season!
Stay one month ahead of your family calendar.As best as you can, try to maintain a family calendar one month in advance.
This gives everyone in the family a chance to get their own events/activities on the schedule in addition to your senior’s final round of high school events.
Revise your family’s schedule together.Once the calendar is set, decide when to flex or reschedule things as a family.
It’s not totally realistic to say that once the calendar is set, nothing changes, but it also negatively impacts parents and siblings if the calendar changes each time your senior wants to take a last-minute college trip or interview for an internship.
Set aside family time once a week.No activities, no schedule, and no ‘screen time’ (i.e., time looking at a smartphone). This can be as simple as dinner without phones, a picnic in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon, or early breakfast at your family’s favorite doughnut place.
It’s easy, especially if all your children are teens, to feel like your family’s attention and focus fluctuates at the whim of a soccer game or college visit, so it’s important to be intentional on savoring small moments when possible.
Protect your family and your teen’s downtime.When will the entire family have mutual free time? Will everyone be off for the same winter or spring break?
Spend time in the summer looking at your breaks and discussing possible family vacations, mother/daughter or father/son trips so your family and your senior have time to relax already established on the calendar.
Have fun!A teen finishing high school isn’t an independent accomplishment. The whole family–siblings, grandparents, cousins, parents–contributes to this accomplishment.
Celebrate this achievement together by scheduling a party or brunch to mark the special occasion as a family.
Sarah (Brookings) Connor, LPC