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8 amazing ways to make graduation in quarantine special for your teen

Congratulations! Your senior is about to graduate high school. This wonderful milestone is a noteworthy event in your child’s life to celebrate. It is a proud moment for your son or daughter as well as you. As parents, you have guided your senior through 13 years of education. You and the extended family will be showering your high schooler with graduation gifts. In the days and weeks following the ceremony, your teen will undoubtedly be headed to several graduation parties, but not everyone is comfortable hosting a big grad party.

So, what do you do when teens graduate? There are a number of fun ways to mark this special occasion with the fanfare it deserves.

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Special family dinner

Most seniors leave graduation night to celebrate with families. This is a somewhat different tradition from when many parents graduated high school, but it gives you the time to savor the moment with your teen instead of watching them run off with friends to a party right after the ceremony. Depending on the time of the commencement, make reservations at a restaurant for the graduate, family, and grandparents.

Be sure to allow time after the ceremony for photos with friends and family. See if the restaurant can make a special graduation cake to mark the occasion or order one ahead of time from a nearby bakery.

Graduation breakfast

Surprise the senior on graduation day with a notable breakfast, making sure to include his or her top menu favorites. Dress up the kitchen with graduation signs and streamers in your senior’s school colors. Then, deck out the table in a plastic tablecloth, plates, napkins, and cups featuring high school colors or go with a graduation design. A festive breakfast is an upbeat way to start off this exciting day.


You can always tell when it is graduation time in the neighborhood because the grad balloons begin appearing on mailboxes up and down the street. It’s a simple gesture, but teens appreciate it. Order your balloons ahead of time if you want them in your senior’s school colors. Like a flower shop on Mother’s Day, balloons are a hot item around graduation.

Car-decorating basket

Along with mailbox balloons, seniors love to jazz up their cars on graduation day. For a fun early graduation gift for your senior, fill a basket with window markers or crayons, packages of balloons in school colors, poster board, and markers. Now, he or she has all the fixings to deck out the car for that all-important last ride to school for the commencement ceremony.

Graduation wreath

High school graduation marks the culmination of 13 years of schooling. Craft a wreath for your graduate featuring photos from kindergarten through senior year. Using a glue gun, arrange the photos on a plain wooden wreath. You can find decorative wreaths online or at your local craft stores. At the top, fix a grad cap with your child’s name and graduation year.

Make a school-years scrapbook

Senior year flies by pretty quickly, and a nice way to capture the essence of this momentous occasion is by putting together a school-years scrapbook. One way is to go back through all of those school pictures and create a keepsake of your child’s 13 years of education, complete with his or her graduation photo. Another is to document his or her senior year in a scrapbook as your teen completes a year of “lasts” before moving on to the next chapter. Either design makes for a keepsake teens will cherish for many years to come.

Memory quilt

Kids hate to part with those school and sports T-shirts they have accumulated over the years. Instead of having the old shirts take up drawer or closet space, have the tees made into a memory quilt your senior can take off to college. If you aren’t a quilter, there are companies that will put together a memory quilt based on the number of T-shirts you want and the size of the quilt. Have a quilt made of your teen’s school years with those long-ago favorite T-shirts or focus on tees from the high school years.

Graduation cupcakes with cap decorations
Studio 2D/Shutterstock

Destination graduation celebration

High school graduation is an important milestone that takes place at the end of the school year. In a couple of months, your senior will be packing up for college. A great way to mark the occasion is with a special family trip. Rent a beach house for a week or plan a trip to somewhere your senior has always wanted to visit. Of course, a destination graduation celebration depends on the family budget, but whether it is a day trip into a nearby city, a camping excursion to a national park, or visiting another country, it will be an exceptional way to celebrate the graduate.

Graduation is an emotional moment for parents and teens. The high school years are ones filled with anxiety and stress for teens as they contemplate their future as well as fun times with friends they’ve known for years. When the big day finally arrives, there are tears and smiles. Enjoy making your senior’s high school graduation one to remember, whether it’s a big graduation gift like a trip or a series of thoughtful gestures like balloons and a car-decorating basket that show just how proud you are of his or her accomplishment.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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