Here at Augusta Family magazine, we’ve been working hard to support our local community and the young seniors being affected by the scope of COVID-19. Continued loss caused by the pandemic now includes proms, senior showcase performances, graduation ceremonies and time spent among friends to close out the final year of high school. It’s hard. We get it. And our hearts are with you.

Augusta Family’s team is sensitive to this time of loss and frustration for graduating seniors and hopes to create ways for students to be recognized and thought of. That’s why our next issue of Augusta Family that will publish at the end of May will contain a special graduation section for high schools in Aiken, Burke, Columbia, McDuffie and Richmond counties. We will showcase the list of graduates according to schools and include photos of the Valedictorian and Salutatorian. We are also offering senior parents the chance to take out a special ad, if desired, to highlight their senior in the issue.

In addition, we want to speak honestly about the situation. We seek to provide ways for your student to process the grief and move forward in these uncertain times. Here are some helpful tips:

Create open space for emotions
The teenage years are full of emotions, and teens not usually wanting to discuss them. During this time, it is “ok” for your child to exhibit strong emotions for seemingly unknown reasons. Create a large space for your senior to “not be okay” and then work to maintain normalcy around them. This will let them know, even during uncertainty, there is structure and familiarity.

Validate your teen’s losses
Although your teen may choose not to openly discuss his/her emotions, as a parent, you can acknowledge the loss. Using sentences like “I understand”, “How can I help?”, and “I know this is hard for you”, are all ways to show your teen you are thinking about their perspective. Ask your teen how they are feeling and if they want to discuss anything. They may say ‘no’, but it will let them know you are available to talk when or if they want.

Run with creativity
While the outcome of this academic year is far from what students expected, there exists ways to celebrate outside the box. Get your teen to help think about ways to be festive about milestones in ways they want or in ways that would make them happy. Kids are great at thinking creatively and this can help them move from a feeling of hopelessness to playing a role in making things better. They can chat with other friends and brainstorm ideas that might be possible for ending their school year in unique and creative ways.

Use this time to check in with college
With the fluidity of today, many colleges are changing requirements for entering school in the fall. Some have lifted deadlines and/or altered requirements for test scores. Check with individual schools to find out how they are accommodating current seniors and prospective students. Many colleges are moving toward virtual tours as a way to visit the campus. Here are two good tools: YouVisit and Campus Reel. Others recommend using your university’s social media sites to see what things they are doing to alleviate the stress of the situation. A sense of relief and hope may come after understanding how schools around the nation are being sensitive to students at this time.

Feature photo by ATC Comm on Pexels