A teen’s senior year is full of many things–anticipation, excitement, nerves, and stress. The senior year of high school traditionally encompasses a multitude of rites of passages: a teen’s last sporting event, final performance, last art showing, final exams, senior projects and not to mention the 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 schedule or calendar.
Particularly if your senior has younger siblings, it can be important to be mindful of balancing your senior’s obligations with your family’s needs and schedule.
A few tips:
- As best as you can, try to maintain a family calendar one month in advance. This gives other siblings in the family to get their own events/activities on the schedule, along with their senior sibling’s last year events.
- Once the calendar is set, as a family, decide when to flex or reschedule things. 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 smart phone). 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 down time over winter and spring break. Spend time in the summer discussing possible family vacations, or daughter/mother trips so your family and your senior has time to relax already set on the calendar.
- Have fun! A teen finishing high school isn’t an independent accomplishment–the whole family–siblings, grandparents, cousins, parents–call contribute to this accomplishment, and your family can celebrate this together by scheduling a party or brunch to celebrate as a family.
Sarah (Brookings) Connor, LPC
sbrookings @ GROWcounseling.com
Photo Credit: Public Domain