Making The Most of Their Last Summer

Young teen boy in sunglasses sitting in blue sit on stadium tribune

Your child’s senior year overflows with lasts: the last football game, the last curtain call, the last dance, the last awards ceremony. Until finally… the last day of school. If you’re anything like me, those lasts swell with bittersweet tension. Pride in all the ways your child has grown and flourished, an aching sadness for days gone by, and hope for all that God has for the future all coexist in us. It’s a lot of emotion to hold all at once. And as you process all of your big feelings, your child is doing the same.

So, how do you make the most of that last summer?

Set Expectations

Your graduate feels the crunch of having just weeks left before all of their friends move away. They’ll want to make the most of the time they have left- just like you will! Remember, clarity is kindness. If you want to prioritize time with your family, make sure that they know that.

Ensure that any family vacation time is blocked out on everyone’s calendars. Choose one evening per week that is designated as family time. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t find other evenings to spend together as well. This just guarantees that one day is protected.

Remind yourself that this time of limbo, the almost-but-not-yet of this last summer, can lend itself to big feelings. You can bring the unwavering peace of God into the chaos of your child’s life. While they stand at the cusp of their future, anxious and uncertain, you can bolster their confidence with your calm assurance that you and God will always be there. Sometimes, this requires deep discussions; sometimes, it’s just being present to listen. Approach their fears, frustrations, and questions with curiosity rather than your own frustration.

Review Life Skills

One of the most practical ways to prepare your child to launch is to review the life skills that they may (or may not) have mastered. Intentionally schedule these as formal learning times, or allow them to organically arise.

  • If you haven’t already, be sure they know how to do their own laundry. Take a trip to a local laundromat to practice with a machine that’s different from the one at home.
  • Help them feel confident in handling basic car issues. Practice changing a tire, checking fluids, and knowing where all the important documents for their vehicle is.
  • Put them in charge of the meal plan for one week. Help them budget, shop for groceries, and cook one or two of the meals.
  • Are they competent in basic cleaning skills? Talk through what methods and products you use to clean things like sinks, floors, and refrigerators. Their future roommates will thank you!

Affirm Who They Are

Through your words and actions, affirm the worth of your child. Take the time to speak out loud that you love them and are proud of them! When it is time to say that final goodbye at their dorm or at basic training or wherever you may leave them, consider giving them a letter of encouragement. You can find a template to help you put those feelings into words at by clicking the Launch tab. Your words matter- they shape your child’s inner voice! Use those words to encourage them.

Look Towards the Future

Parenting continues on well beyond launch. As your child lives into adulthood, your relationship with adapt. Things will be different (probably quieter), but different does not equal bad. While at first you may be on-call to help them navigate doctor’s visits, pick the right cut of meat at the grocery store, or talk through roommate drama, there will come a time when they don’t need you to speak into things but rather want and value your input. Connecting with your adult children is a true joy. Don’t lose sight of all the beauty that is still to come for your future as a family. Celebrate what was and look forward to what is ahead!

Chelsea Judkins

Chelsea Judkins

Chelsea Judkins is the Girls Minister at FBCA. She and her husband Kyle have two children, Lucy and Theodore. Chelsea enjoys hiking, cooking, and having coffee dates with the youth girls!

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