14 Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Graduation During COVID-19

Whether your child is a high school senior or moving on from preschool or kindergarten, graduation is a major milestone. But with schools in Connecticut closed for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the big day will now likely be celebrated at home.

Kids of all ages may struggle with disappointment over canceled plans. To support them, check out our pediatric psychologists’ advice for helping young people cope with stress.

As for finding a way to properly celebrate your graduate during social distancing – here are ideas:

  • Adopt a senior: Make sure graduates in your town feel extra special by organizing an Adopt-a-Senior event! Residents can choose a graduate to shower with notes of appreciation, flowers and small gifts.
  • Create a virtual “kudos board”: This is a great idea for graduates of all ages. Create an online “group card” filled with messages, GIFs, videos and photos. Kudoboard.com is a popular website just for this purpose, or you can create a shared virtual document another way – Trello, Google Drive, Slack, Zoho, Microsoft OneNote or something else. Whatever platform you use, invite family, friends, teachers and others to write special messages, share fond memories and celebrate your graduate.
  • Organize a photo shoot: Get together with friends to hire a professional photographer and organize a socially distant photo shoot for graduates in their caps and gowns. If your school district is not providing the graduation gear, you can order it online or be creative and make your own!

High school graduate wearing white cap and gown.

  • Organize a car parade: On what should have been their graduation day, have your child and their friends decorate cars and slowly drive around the neighborhood honking and celebrating. Or invite friends and family to drive (and honk!) by your house in honor of your graduate.
  • Decorate your front door with photos: Create a large collage of photos of your graduate through the years, and use it to wallpaper the front door of your house. If a full-door collage is a bit too ambitious, try displaying a smaller photo frame, a photo wreath or even a balloon arc.
  • Collect achievements: Put together a scrapbook of your graduate’s top achievements over the years.
  • Display a yard sign: Your school district may coordinate a yard sign distribution for graduates; if not, you can always search online to order a special sign to honor your graduate.
  • Plan a graduation-themed dinner: Prepare your graduate’s favorite meal and have the whole family dress up for the occasion – with your graduate in full cap and gown attire, of course. Have each family member present your graduate with a “diploma” filled with favorite memories.
  • Bake a cake: This is easy and fun! Bake a cake from scratch with your graduate and decorate it.

Cake with vanilla frosting. Congratulations piped on it. Multi-colored sprinkles all around

  • Create a graduation chair: Decorate your graduate’s chair at the kitchen table to make them feel extra special for a day, a week or even longer.
  • Circulate a graduation announcement: While a party is out of the question, now’s a good time to remind family and friends that your child is about to graduate, in case they want to send a card or gift to mark the occasion.
  • Produce a video: Have friends and family submit short videos full of well wishes for your graduate. Feeling creative? Use a video production app to edit them all together.
  • Organize a virtual party: Bring all of the important people in your child’s life together in a way that follows social distancing! Send a festive invitation with the meeting ID or link. Encourage guests to wear grad-themed attire and prop up decorations in their background. And pick an activity – like speeches, karaoke or recreating the latest TikTok dances – to get everyone engaged. (Need inspiration? Here are 23 ideas for video chat activities.)
  • Organize a graduation ceremony at home: Keep it simple but special! Organize a ceremony complete with a senior speech, homemade diploma, and commencement address from mom or dad looking back at highlights through the years. Invite family and friends to tune in via video chat.

Graduation this year may not look the way any of us planned. But with a little creativity, you can honor your child’s accomplishments, bring together the important people in their life, and focus on celebrating. Congratulations, graduates!

Is your child having a birthday during COVID-19 social distancing? Here are 14 ways to celebrate.

For more help getting your family through COVID-19, check out our School Closure Kit >>

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