I have a high school graduate... now what?

Jun 13, 2023
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Even though your child has graduated, you are still super important in their life as is their pediatric provider. Read more for details.

This time of year, mailboxes are full of graduation announcements and Facebook threads show smiling faces of high school grads and their parents. We know that so many of you are asking yourselves, "I have a high school graduate... now what?"

This question can cover SO many things. Does my child know how to do his/her own laundry? Will he/she know what to do in an emergency? Is all the paperwork ready for him/her to head off to college?

Here is our crash course in being the parent of a new high school grad!

1. You've already done the bulk of the work. Congrats! For the last 18+ years, you have instilled in your child the virtues and values you wanted to impart to them. Rest assured that they have learned these things whether they admit it or not!

2. Be prepared. Like the Boy Scouts' motto, it's always important to be prepared. As your graduate looks to his/her future, there may be things they need to do to get ready. If he/she is going off to college, many require a recent physical examination and proof of vaccinations. Give us a call if you need us to get your son/daughter in for a visit to complete this paperwork.

3. No one likes shots. No one likes vaccines, but they are very important for keeping your younger child AND your teen/adult healthy. Some vaccines such as the meningitis B vaccine help prevent against infections which can spread quickly in a dorm room setting. We are able to administer vaccines until a patient's 19th birthday, unless it is the COVID vaccine. 

4. Aging out. Many people think that once a person reaches the teen years or even college age that he/she should go off to an adult physician. We provide care in our office up until a patient's 22nd birthday.  We love seeing these "adults" as they start to create their own identities. 

5. College can be a hard transition. Moving on to college brings with it lots of stressors that perhaps your teen hasn't known before -- making his/her own decisions, roommate strife, tougher academic classes. Many college students struggle with anxiety and depression. We are here to help if your child needs it. They shouldn't feel alone in this battle. We are here!

6. Last-minute cramming. Like studying for that mid-term, many parents feel like they have a limited window to impart wisdom on their child. Here are a few key points to review if you haven't already:

-Doing laundry. Teaching your child how to sort and do laundry is key and will keep you from the daunting laundry bags of stinky college clothes!

-Basic cooking. We don't expect college students to be gourmet chefs, but a basic knowledge of cooking can be helpful. Teach your child how to boil water for pasta/noodles, chop up vegetables, scramble eggs and follow a recipe. 

-Cleaning. We know that dorm rooms aren't the best examples of a neat and tidy space, but teaching your college student basic cleaning such as tidying up the space, wiping down solid surfaces and perhaps cleaning a toilet or two may save some grime-filled spaces down the line. 

-Medical care. It wouldn't be a post on a pediatric blog without the mention of how to take care of oneself. If your teen is heading off to college and is NOT yet 18 years old, make sure something is in place for them to seek medical care if needed and have you contacted as the responsible adult. Many teens though who are 18+ have never had to seek care on their own. In this case, make sure he/she has an insurance card and knows where the closest urgent care and ER are located. Most colleges have a campus clinic where the students can seek out basic care. You may even want to come up with a document/paper that lists your child's medical history (medical issues, surgeries, medications, allergies and family history). This could come in handy if they are at a location to seek care and a parent is not with them. 

6. Final thoughts. Having a child graduate and essentially move into the world of being an adult can be overwhelming and we are here to help. We want to help you in this transition and have lots of tips and tricks to make it as easy as possible.